From a Lay Leader's Desk

A series of opinion articles from lay leaders in our synod.


Is God pleased with our level of acknowledgement?

Nov 01, 2019

By Herman Mensing, MNYS Editor and Collaborator 

I was thinking of the word "acknowledgment" the other day. Actually, it's a word I think of rather regularly. I'm a big fan of acknowledgment. The dictionary defines the word as being a recognition or favorable notice of an act; a thing done or a response given in recognition of something received. Sort of a "Thank You."

As some of you know, I enjoy doing proofing and copy-editing. It's the work I did for 10 years, after first retiring in 1996, and have continued to do, working with individuals and organizations, reviewing their written materials. When I first begin doing editing work for an organization, or for an individual, right up front, I ask that when I return the proofed document to them via computer, that they send me an acknowledgment of receipt of that document. 

Am I looking for thanks? Absolutely not! My sole interest is knowing and confirming that the document reached them, and is not floating around somewhere in cyberspace. Much of my current work is done for our Metro NY Synod, reviewing their newsletters, occasional personal letters, articles, whatever. Upon my returning a reviewed document to my contact at the synod office, he will typically respond with a single word or two, such as "acknowledged," "or thank you." That's all it takes.

So, to me, acknowledgments are important, ------ and that got me to wondering whether God is pleased with our level of acknowledgment, in responding to him with our gratitude and thanks, and our recognition of what he's done for us, for what he's given to us. And if we say, "Yes, I do respond sincerely, and regularly," that implies we are backing up that response in lives of service. It's one thing to say "Thank you;" it's another to "do" thank you. And thank you to all of you who are already "doing."

We've been given gifts a many, spiritual gifts of baptism, of the Lord's Supper, and of faith. And gifts of life, of family, of friends, of work, of time, of abilities, of financial resources, --- and the list goes on. Where are we in our lives of acknowledgment to God? It's certainly good, and right, to say "Thank you, Lord," but it seems to me for that thank you to be meaningful, it has to be backed up with action, in lives of service. The Bible is clear on this point. We read in James Chapter 1, verse 22: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

Those words are at the heart of Christian stewardship. It's about doing, about giving back, in thanks for what we've been given. It's a response, not just "by" us, but "of" us, as we give ourselves up in lives of acknowledgment and gratitude and action.