Weekly Devotional

Monday, November 22, 2021

“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?”

1 Thessalonians 3:9

Author and pastor Gordon MacDonald shares the story about a husband and wife team who are three-day-a-week volunteers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The wife works at the information desk at the main entrance. Her mission: To welcome and provide information for people entering the hospital for the first time.

Her husband oversees a reception area for families and friends of cancer patients who are in surgery. His mission: To ensure that they are comfortable and cared for until the surgeon comes to tell them what has happened in the OR. MacDonald asked them, “Why do you do this? You could be snorkeling in Florida.” This was their response.

“Because we are aggressively appreciated. Mass General practices a culture of appreciation. You can hardly go 15 minutes during the day without someone on the MGH staff stopping you (from hospital president to the cleaning staff) and saying thanks and something like ‘We couldn’t do what we do without you.’ We’re made to feel like an important part of a world-class medical team. We’ve never felt so completely valued in any other organization.

‘Are you telling me,’ MacDonald replied, ‘that you receive more appreciation at the hospital than you got when you once poured yourself into work at our church?’ They answered slowly, firmly, maybe even sadly: ‘There’s no comparison’” (Gordon MacDonald, “The Thankful Exchange,” Leadership Journal, Fall 2013). 

It is important for us to offer thanks to God for others and it is important that they know we thank God for them. Many of you who read this weekly devotional are part of the faculty and staff at Gardner-Webb University. You serve our community of faith and learning with deep devotion, believing strongly in our mission to provide students with a “supportive and diverse Christian community” in which to live and learn. I thank God for the joy I experience because of you.

Some of you who read this devotional are Trustees, alumni and friends of Gardner-Webb. Others learned about this devotional through churches I have served as interim pastor or through friends who forwarded the devotional to you. Regardless of how you wound up on the email list to receive this devotional, I do not take for granted the fact that you take time each week to read the Monday Morning Devotional. And I thank God for the joy I experience because of you.

Believe it or not, the season of Advent begins on Sunday, November 28. Since 2005 when Dr. Daniel Goodman edited the first devotional guide, the Advent Devotional Booklet has become an important and meaningful tradition at Gardner-Webb University.  For the past two years, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response to the Advent devotional being shared electronically with the subscribers to the Monday Morning Devotional and we are delighted to do so again this year.Each day of Advent, beginning on Sunday, November 28, that day’s devotional will be delivered to your inbox.  The regular Monday Morning Devotional will resume on Monday, January 3, 2022.  

Prayer: Lord, may the reflections contained in this year’s Advent Devotional remind all of us of your ability “to do something special at just the right time, in just the right way, and with just the right person” (adapted from the 2021 Advent Devotional Booklet, Introduction).

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