Remember to say ‘thank you’

“Remember to say ‘thank you’” still rings in my ears to this very date. During my early formative years, my parents were always insistent on me expressing gratitude for any gift or an act of kindness extended to me.

I have sought to follow that axiom as I have traveled through life. I am certain that there have been lapses — times during which I mindlessly forgot to speak words of gratitude but, generally speaking I have tried to make the “thank you” admonition an integral part of my life.

This statement is not meant to be a veiled sense of bragging. Rather, it is a tribute to my parents. I hope I instilled the same kind of thinking in my children as well. As far as I can tell, they are practicing the “thank you” axiom in their lives and for that I am grateful.

As I mark yet another anniversary with Alabama Baptists as a state missionary, I want to offer a heartfelt word of gratitude for our partnership in missions. Alabama Baptists are my faith family, and I am deeply gratified to be a member of such a Christ-centered and Bible-believing people.

You are very important in my life as well as in the lives of our other state missionaries. We are all honored to serve the Lord alongside you in these challenging times.

As I attended the most recent meeting of the SBC, I had some moments to reflect upon the contributions of Alabama Baptists beyond our own borders.

Let me thank you, Alabama Baptists, for your continued giving through the Cooperative Program. Almost 10 cents of every dollar the SBC receives comes from Alabama. We are not the wealthiest state, nor are we a state convention with mass numbers of megachurches. We are not the largest state convention, but we are among the most generous people.

In thanking you for your giving through the Cooperative Program and to the special offerings, I do so not intending to say that Alabama as a state convention is better than other state conventions. Every state convention is different, and everyone of them has to determine priority needs as they evaluate the situation in their state, in North America and the world.

As one of the three oldest state conventions (established in 1823), we have numerous commitments in our state which seek to serve the cause of Christ in Alabama and around the world alongside our larger SBC family.

As Alabama Baptists, we want to be faithful to the cause of Christ in ways that strengthen the base of support and extend our witness around the world. Believe me, that affirmation is on my mind and in my heart as a state missionary. That is the compelling motivation of all state missionaries.

“Thank you” are easy words to say, but a life of gratitude is a challenging way to live. I pray that the teachings of parents, from years ago, continue echoing in my heart and in life as I seek to live for Christ and serve alongside my faith family called Alabama Baptists.

We have so much more to do in the days to come and I want to thank you in advance for all you will do for the cause of Christ. My favorite expression these days is “Press on!”

As we live faithfully for the Lord, let us be grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]