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Tag Archives: appreciation

I Can’t Help Myself

My father was born in Lithuania.  As immigrants from certain Europeans countries began to migrate to the United States, stereotypes began to develop.  Whether it was the era, how my dad was raised or specific mannerisms, my father tended to be stoic unless he was angry.  Meanwhile, my mom who grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania wasn’t afraid to wear her emotions on her sleeve.  Like any child, I exhibit a combination of qualities from each of my parents.  Nonetheless, whenever my heart is moved or touched by something special, I can’t help myself, easily brought to tears.

As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; 13 and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean, Luke 17:12-14.

During the first century, Jews and Samaritans were enemies as hatred and resentment spilled over from the past.  This tension began when Israel was divided into two kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judea in the south.  The north whose second capital was relocated upon a hillside in Samaria often did what was right in their own eyes.  The southern kingdom remained more true to God as some kings reminded citizens of their spiritual heritage.  The main issues between Jews and Samaritans began during 722 B.C. when Assyria conquered Israel and took most of its people into captivity.  The byproduct of this siege led to intermarriages between Gentiles and Israelites.  Thus, Samaritans earned the reputation of being only half Jewish, labeled and ridiculed for centuries.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; 16 and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? 18 Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:15-18

Recognizing this portion in history, Jesus is shocked by how little appreciation is shown to God by 9 Jewish lepers.  On the other hand, the Samaritan leper is overwhelmed after being healed.  According to a first century doctor, this man couldn’t help himself, praising God over and over again.  Sometimes in life, stereotypes influence how people act, behave and interact with others.  Yet, when you slow down and look around to see the numerous minor miracles in your life, you too can model the thanksgiving demonstrated by this Samaritan leper.  May the example of this first century man inspire you to develop a new outlook on life in 2019.

by Jay Mankus

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The Final Round

My favorite day of any planned vacation is the first.  Whether you are traveling by air, boat, car or train, the initial day sets the scene for the entire trip.  Additionally, the first day on the beach, in the mountains or on a golf course tends to be the most relaxing.  If you have gone an extended period of time without resting, there is a greater appreciation for time away from work.  However, before you know it, time flies and the end is near.  Dreading the last hours that remain on your vacation, it’s hard to make the most of your final round.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

About a decade about, my parents were in a major car accidents in the mountains of Pennsylvania.  Initially, my mom thought my dad was dead as a ski hit him in the back of his head as they slide off the interstate down the side of a hill.  In an instant, their lives were changed.  I wasn’t sure if I would see him again or get the chance to say goodbye.  During an extended rehab, my father made a full recovery.  Nearly a year later, we played a round of golf together at his club in southern Delaware.  Awakened to the possibilities, I treated this day like it was our final round together.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

In most golf tournaments, there is a 36 hole cut over the first 2 days.  The final round takes place on Sunday where fans gather to see if their favorite player is victorious.  However, as you get older, nothing is guaranteed.  Thus, each time you tee if up, in the back of your mind you should think, “this may be my last.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t have this heightened awareness when I played with Leanne’s father 3 years ago in Florida.  Instead of savoring every last minute, I allowed how I was playing, poorly, to ruin my mood.  In view of Jim’s untimely death, from here on out, I will treat each day on the golf course like it’s my final round on earth.

by Jay Mankus

 

That a Boy!

As the culture changes, so does the vocabulary.  Unfortunately, as a sense of loyalty diminishes, human beings are being discarded by employers, often finding a cheaper replacement.  I found out the hard way during my last year as a high school teacher.  In this climate, instead of hearing encouraging words like “that a boy,” criticism follows revealing a lack of appreciation.

With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it, 1 Peter 5:12.

Trying to stay positive in these conditions can be difficult.  However, after reading a letter from the disciple Peter, I am reminded of the importance to use uplifting words.  Since most communications at a typical work place tends to be when you make a mistake, what would happen if people received a compliment once a week.  While each individual is different, most need to hear “that a boy or way to go” every so often to make sure they feel appreciated.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen, Ephesians 4:29.

Although I have my moments of negativity, these passages of the Bible bring me back to where I need to be.  Thus, despite how I feel, its vital to guard my mouth to avoid being part of the problem.  In view of this, don’t be afraid to be a voice of reason, building up those around you.  By exercising this principle, you will rejuvenate others who yearn to hear, “that a boy!”

by Jay Mankus

 

Why I Experienced the Bottom of the Barrel

For those of you fortunate enough not to have tasted defeat, experience failure or feel the pain of loss, your perspective is limited.  Sheltered from this anguish, you haven’t been forced rely on the Lord.  Instead this smooth journey leads passengers to trust in their health and wealth, oblivious to the bottom of the barrel.

As I look back on recent heartaches of a 2-19 season as a coach, the struggle to rebuild my work career and dedication to the dreams of my youth, hardship has refined my faith.  Although the furnace isn’t a pleasant place to visit, 1 Peter 1:6-7, this necessary evil has lifted me up from the bottom on the barrel.  In the midst of this storm, I have a new appreciation for the little things in life.

Humility has helped me come to the realization that I can’t do it on my own.  Rather, I need a Savior to pick me up when I fall, Matthew 11:28-30.  Sure, it would be nice to forgo past trials, yet I wouldn’t be where I am today if these events did not occur.  Therefore, my focus shifts upward, Philippians 3:12-14, so that if I experience the bottom of the barrel again, the sun will shine upon my face letting me know that everything will be okay.

by Jay Mankus

 

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