May 15: Appreciate…in the Right Language

Read John 12:1-19

How do you most typically express appreciation to others?  That may seem almost like an unnecessary question.  Isn’t it as simple as voicing the words “thank you”?  Well, yes, bottom line, that is what you are attempting to communicate.  But your attempt to communicate that basic message is only as effective as the other person’s ability to receive, understand, and sense your gratitude.

In that regard, I suppose saying “thank you” is not unlike our attempts to express love.  And, as Gary Chapman suggests, perhaps there are different “languages” or means of communicating it that will be better understood by the recipient.  This is individual.  Different people will best sense your love and appreciation in different ways.  Perhaps with each person, you should ask yourself, “With which expression of appreciation will he/she most resonate?”

  1. Words of affirmation?
  2. Acts of service?
  3. Receiving gifts?
  4. Quality time?
  5. Physical touch?

What Mary, Martha, and Lazarus did with Jesus after the raising of Lazarus from the dead must have touched on virtually every one of those languages!  Their appreciation of Jesus for His friendship and for the miracle He had performed must have been deep.  I can only imagine their feeble and fumbling attempts at the tomb after Lazarus walked out.  Perhaps through blubbering tears, they tried to voice it.

And when we come to the twelfth chapter, some time had passed, but their appreciation has not waned.  They offered Jesus the gift of a special meal at which Martha served Him.  Time around the table must have also allowed them quality time with Him.  But then there was also the physical touch and act of service Mary expressed to Jesus through the anointing.  In their appreciation, they creatively expressed it in every way possible!

My point is this…don’t limit your expression of appreciation to the one that is most natural to you.  Try to understand the other person and express it in ways that are most meaningful to him/her.  If the other person is a spouse or family member, perhaps you could benefit by talking more about “love languages” and looking at where there are not only descriptions but also tools for discovering love languages.