How To Express Thanks To Church Musicians

Have you ever been a part of a conversation that went like this?

Listener: "Hey, thanks for singing that solo this morning. Your song was a huge blessing."

Singer: (Rather awkwardly) "Oh. Uh, thanks... I mean, uh... No! Praise ye the Lord. All glory be to Him, amen?"

What's happening in this exchange?

On the one hand, the listener is simply expressing the natural human response of appreciation to someone who has helped them spiritually. On the other hand, the musician is trying to dodge any sense of man-centered focus by awkwardly deflecting praise to God without overtly correcting the one expressing gratitude. For example, poorly handling the conversation could end up sounding like this:

Listener: "Hey, thanks for singing that solo this morning. Your song was a huge blessing."

Singer: "No, you ignorant person, stop thanking me. You should be praising God instead, duh."

Ok, so maybe it won't sound that bad, but you get the point.

Biblically Expressing Thanks

Recently, I was reading a devotional commentary on Colossians in which the author pointed out the way the Apostle Paul expressed thanks to the churches. In Colossians 1:3-5, Paul writes, "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints...." Notice that Paul didn't directly address the Colossians by writing, "Hey Colossians, we are so thankful for your faith and love." Instead, he wrote, "We always thank God... for...."

There's a subtle nuance between those two approaches that makes a huge difference. By starting with "I thank God," Paul is expressing his specific appreciation for the Colossian's faith and love while also emphasizing the fact that God is the one responsible for fruit evident in their lives. In another letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, "It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil 2:13).

If Colossians 1:3-5 were a verbal conversation, the Colossians could immediately say after Paul's expression of thanks, "We thank God too, Paul! He deserves all the praise!" There's not a stitch of that awkward, who-gets-the-praise hot potato. More importantly, both parties are reminded that God is ultimately responsible for the grace being manifested in and through our lives. So, when you tell someone "thank you," do it in a way that emphasizes God's work of grace in the life of one who ministered to you.

Listener: "Hey, I thank God for how He used your voice to minister to my heart this morning."

Singer: "Praise God."