Do you have a list of people who have impacted, changed, and shaped your life? A couple of faces pop into my mind immediately when I consider this question. Mrs. Vera Ellenberger was my piano teacher for 10 years. Mr. Jerry Reeves was my boss when I worked at Dallas Seminary Foundation. Have you thought of a few names for your list now?
My heart is filled with gratitude for each of these people and their impact on me. My piano teacher taught me to sight read music, play scales & chords, and to always look ahead as I played a musical piece. It meant so much to me when she accepted my invitation to play the organ at our wedding. Jerry Reeves was a patient and kind man. He loved the Bible and the prayers of the apostle Paul. He helped me learn how to work with people who had different abilities and gifts. And, he taught me a lot about editing and proofreading letters and documents.
Both of them were believers and I watched each of them care for a spouse who suffered from cancer and then eventually, pass away. I learned so much from them during this difficult trial in their lives.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.” ~Philippians 1:3-4
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to believers in the city of Philippi to encourage them in their personal walks with the Lord. He had come to their city on his second missionary journey after the Holy Spirit had directed his path from Asia to Macedonia (see Acts 16:11-40). Paul loved these people and he wanted to express his thankfulness to them for their “partnership in the gospel.” They had supported his ministry with financial gifts.
Fifteen years ago in November, I sat down and wrote a letter to Mrs. Ellenberger and Jerry Reeves. It was an opportunity for me to thank them, share remembrances, and let them know that they had made a difference in my life. They have each passed away now and as I sit here, tears fill my eyes. I’m thankful God allowed them to be part of my life and I’m so glad I took the time to write those 2 letters.
Are there people in your life who made a significant impact? Those who have shared spiritual truths and given wise counsel? I’d encourage you to take the time to write a personal letter and express your gratitude for their contribution to the growth and development in your life. It’s such a practical way to grow your heart of gratitude.