We have finally arrived at Thanksgiving week, and many of us we are preparing to spend some quality time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving weekend. With all that is going on in our far too busy lives, it is easy to miss the most important aspect of this week—and that is the One to whom we are to direct our thanks. So today and Wednesday we will look at two keys in moving from Thanksgiving to Thanks-Living that can help us keep the Main Thing the main thing, not only this week but throughout the entire year.
O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known His doings among the peoples. (1 Chronicles 16:8)
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His rightness and justice, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. (Psalm 7:17)
Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
The Gospel frees us to live thankfully. Do you know why? Because it frees us from the prison of self-absorption. Self absorbed people do not live thankfully because they are simply too self-absorbed! They sit on the throne of their lives and live for the accomplishment of their goals; their dreams; their desires; their atrophied agenda.
But this is not for you! The grace of the Gospel reorients our lives around the Savior rather than the self. We see Jesus as the meaning of life and the purpose for living. To be succinct, we live cross-shaped lives. As much as it is within our power, we love God and love people. Whatever success we are seeking, we seek it in the service of others, rather than at their expense. And along the way, we thank God for any and every measure of selflessness. This is a life that is poured out for the good of others. To live thankfully is to live generously.
What do you have that you have not been given? If everything we have is a gift from the hand of God (see John 3:27), how can we live in any other way than generously? “Freely you received,” Jesus said, “freely give” (Matthew 10:8). The more we have, the more we are in debt to the One who has given it to us and the more we should be driven to meet the physical needs of others.
It is a mistake to think the Gospel meets only the spiritual needs of the lost. It does this, to be sure, but it also meets physical needs as well. If it did not, how would we explain the two loaves and five fish that fed thousands instead of Jesus sending them away hungry? How would we explain the miracles of Jesus in making the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the sick well, and the dead alive? When we get the Gospel deep down into the marrow of our bones, we live lives marked by generosity, remembering that God loves a cheerful giver. And our hilarious good cheer is an expression of our heartfelt gratitude for His grace:
For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. (2 Corinthians 9:12)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!