Writing letters and notes to friends is becoming a lost virtue in this electronic age of emails, texts, and instant messages. Is it still important to write thank you notes and letters of encouragement? It has been a regular practice for special speakers and missionaries to write and receive thank you notes expressing their gratitude. Though this practice has diminished it still remains an important means of communication for Christians. In the past it would have been looked upon as ungrateful to not follow that protocol.
I can give many examples of busy men of God who took the time to respond by a personal note. Though bearing many responsibilities, I received correspondence from Dr. Lee Roberson numerous times. I know that it was his habit to write many thank notes every day. Only a few years ago, my mother received a thank you letter from Dr. Shelton Smith. I remember her stating her gratitude for such a kind gesture. Our college singing groups and traveling preachers make a habit of writing thank you notes for any kindness shown to them.
Perhaps in today’s society it is not thought of in the same way. However, thankfulness must be expressed in a tangible form. I’m not sure it has the same effect in a tweet or an email. Kindness and generosity should never be taken for granted when someone sends a gift or financial support. Make sure they know of your appreciation by a written document.
If children are taught this virtue at an early age, it will be easy to continue the practice. But if someone did not grow up being taught to write notes, it must be learned. If grandparents send a Christmas gift to their grandchildren the grandchildren should be taught to write a thank you note to them. If friends bring a wedding gift to your wedding every person providing a gift should receive a thank you.
There are many kindnesses shown to the pastor of a church. The kindness of your people should be acknowledged by a note or verbally from the pulpit. If your people do not show kindness to you perhaps it is because you have not shown appreciation to them. This mutual appreciation should be a part of your church fellowship.
One suggestion is to to purchase or buy custom made cards for the purpose of showing gratitude to your people. It may say, “from the desk of Pastor . . .”. Every week should include the writing of thank you notes or notes of encouragement. If you want to develop respect from your people, you should make a habit of corresponding with them. Some of it may be in electronic form, but I am of the opinion that some of it should be in written form.