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I sometimes find it hard to be thankful. When I arrive with my best sermon of the year and discover half the congregation has gone skiing, or when a transient greets me on my doorstep when I arrive home late at night-these are times I think about the merits of selling insurance.

Yet how can I lead others into the essential Christian attitude of thankfulness toward God without cultivating a similar attitude within myself?

Thankfulness makes a big difference in ministry. I'm at my best and people are most responsive on the Sundays when I'm thankful for the people who have given me the opportunity to lead them in worship. But after a Saturday night of "woe is me" and a Sunday service of "give it to them," my ministry lacks effect.

I've heard pastors complain about everything from the level of commitment to the level of compensation-and the concerns are probably legitimate. But I've also learned that neither commitment nor compensation is likely to take an upward turn unless I'm truly thankful ...

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