Part of the leaders role is to identify areas that need attention. Unfortunately at times some leaders can find themselves only ever discovering and highlighting areas that need attention. However the role of a leader is also to remind and highlight to people how valuable they are.
In 1st Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:5, 1st Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2:13 Paul makes an important comment to the churches in Corinth and Thesselonica...he says "I always thank God for you...and we ought to always thank God for you.".
Now all these people who Paul wrote to weren't people that always did everything right. In fact Paul has some strong words to the Corinthians about their behaviour, attitudes to others and each other. They weren't perfect people and yet Paul makes that comment..."I always thank God for you".
Let's have a look closer...
In 1st Corinthians 1 Paul says it is because of the grace God has given them in Jesus Christ, that has enriched them in every way.
In Ephesians it is because of their faith and love for all the saints
In Philippians it is because of their partnership in the Gospel and the work they are perservering with.
In 1st Thessalonians it is because of the works produced by faith, labour prompted by love and endurance inspired by the hope in Jesus Christ.
In 2nd Thessalonians it is because that their faith is growing and their love for each other is increasing, and because God has chosen them.
Paul's thanking of people is inspired a lot by what God has been up to in the lives of the people he is leading and communicating with, and not just what they are doing.
For thinking and discussion
Is the value of the people we are leading based on what they do, or what God has done and is doing in them?
If what God is doing is important and foundational in people's lives, how does this affect how we lead people and what we encourage them to be involved in?
What benefits are there in thanking people?
What are the dangers in thanking people?....What can we do about these?
How can we make thanking people a priority in our leadership approach?Who are some people we/you should thank and how?