Gypsy ministry was one of the most laborious ministries I have ever been involved in and at the same time, one of the most rewarding. Most Gypsies had incredible talents and gifts. My ministry partners were also very hard workers, but their education was extremely low and teaching and training took considerably longer than most of my other mentees. They knew this, but I worked very hard not to make them feel insecure about it. They worked hard to show their appreciation and love for me throughout our time together.
They surprised me one day when they just showed up unannounced to begin paving my driveway. The driveway began to show signs of age and poor workmanship and my Gypsy partners saw this as a way to repay me for all I had done for them. This was something they were good at, this was their field of expertise, and it seemed like an excellent way for them to show their gratitude. Problem was, it wasn’t my house, I was just renting it. But I knew how much this would mean to them, to be able to repay me for years of investment, and after discussing it with the landowner (who was ecstatic), I allowed myself to be blessed with their gratitude, and they did more than just say thank you in words, they demonstrated gratitude in deeds as well.
This is the idea behind Paul’s statement in Colossians 3:17 where we read:
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17
Paul, first of all, reminded the Ephesians of all they had to be thankful to God for, through the gift of His Son Christ Jesus. He reminded them to give thanks not only in word alone, but with their deeds, that is through their actions as well.
Saying thank you and showing gratitude are not the same. Thank you is pretty easy, in fact, usually flippant. But demonstrating thankfulness and gratitude costs something from the recipient.
Further, like ambassadors of Christ, we are to show gratitude with the attitude of Christ, not representing ourselves, but Him, acting in His name.
Those Gypsies were not welcome in my neighborhood, they were prejudiced against. They were given dirty looks as my neighbors passed by. They knew this would happen and usually Gypsies harbored prejudice right back. But not these Gypsies, they loved them back. They met every ugly look with a friendly and welcoming greeting and kind words. They showed gratitude with the right attitude, words and deeds in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr.
President / CEO
April 26, 2022