I had been stuck with my wife and two small boys in a tangled ticketing problem that the airline office insisted would would cost me $9000 to unravel. After hours of desperation I called Delta airline headquarters and was directed by automation to a service center in South Africa. Standing in London on a pay phone, I was totally stunned as this random South African Delta representative said to me cheerfully, “Oh, I remember you, Mr. Parks, — you called a few months ago!" This representative, a stranger, on the opposite pole of the planet knew my name! She said she remembered me from ticketing work she had done two months earlier! I literally began to cry! She said, “don’t worry Mr. Parks, I know you and I will solve this for you.”
Tears filled my eyes as an overwhelming feeling of God’s complete care for my family swept over me. I stood in the airport crying and shouting whoops of exultation to my God. I was thankful for the ticket, but much more I was overwhelmed with awe and wonder at my God, who had personally arranged such a miracle for me. It is now nearly 10 years later, and I still have deep emotion about that day. I have told the story often to friends and strangers and when I do, I find people begin to reflect on things they are thankful for.
What are you thankful for? Thankfulness is a goldmine for igniting the heart of lost people. You see, thankfulness raises — a white “think harder” flag in the heart of the lost person. Here is how it works: As a Christian you have a wonderful target for your thankfulness: God is the source of good, and so He is the grand target of all your thanks. When you are publicly and audibly thankful — it first of all reminds the lost listener, that such joyful people exist. ;-) The second thing that happens is your thankfulness reminds them that they themselves have things to be thankful for. However in their pondering, they suddenly see there must be a source of the good for which they are thankful, so they begin wondering about God. This leads to the third great thing that happens when you express thankfulness to God in front of a lost or discouraged listener. When they begin to feel thankful, they come face to face with the need to have an object, or a target to direct their Thankfulness. (Thankfulness is like that — it always needs a recipient. This is why no one can be thankful for anything of great value and remain an atheist!)
If they are directing gratitude toward heaven -- that is the tipping point that turns them from a listener to a "believer."
I will like to challenge you — if you are serious about being a better witness — than be more thankful -- audibly thankful. Why? because thankfulness spreads.
Here are three tips for being effective in your thankfulness:
1) Wear your thankfulness. Let it be in your smile. Let your thankfulness refresh your face.
2) Sound your thankfulness. Let it season your conversation and your responses.
3) Focus your thankfulness. Don’t just be thankful for circumstantial things because they change! Instead be thankful for eternal things. And what are “eternal things”?
— Be thankful for your status. (forgiven, justified, free from condemnation).
— Be thankful for your worth. (valuable, loved, precious, a jewel)
— Be thankful for your placement. (a child of God, an heir, seated in heavenly places, royalty).
— Be thankful for your hope. (holiness, heaven, renewed)
— Be thankful for your Jesus. (a brother, a friend, a help in trouble)
To impact others you must have a spirit of gratitude. Remember, what do you get when grace becomes an attitude? Gratitude.
Live your Potential,