Gratitude is giving

Published 10:50 am Friday, November 25, 2022

We watched an episode of The Chosen entitled The Shepherd recently at church. In this episode, Mary gives birth to Jesus in the stable when the shepherds come to visit. Shepherds were considered the outcasts and rejects of that time; however, Mary allowed them to hold the Christ child. You can imagine how difficult it would be for perfect strangers to hold your newborn baby.My wife said to me, “From the beginning, Mary had to give him away.” Her statement spoke to my heart. I thought about how Mary and Joseph had to share Jesus with everyone. God gave them a child that had to be given away to all humanity. Mary and Joseph shared their small amount of time with Jesus with others. They were grateful for the gift and wanted the whole world to experience him.
Giving is one of the most powerful things we can do to show our gratitude. The Bible says in Acts 20:35, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In giving, we demonstrate our gratitude. It is impossible to be grateful and not give. When we recognize what we have been given, we should be driven to give to others. Michael Moody said, “Gratitude has value for many reasons, not the least of which is that gratitude often fuels philanthropy. As well it should.” Moody goes on to tell the story of Albert Schweitzer. “At age 30 abruptly he abandoned a comfortable life as a celebrated organist and scholar and devoted the rest of his life to service. Schweitzer explained that he did so because he felt he “must give something in return” for the good fortune he had received. Good fortune obligated him to live a philanthropic life. He enrolled in medical school and spent the rest of his life providing medical care in his hospital in Africa.” His gratitude led him to spend the rest of his life serving others.
On this Thanksgiving, reflect upon all you have been given, and then choose to demonstrate your thankfulness to God by providing for those around you! Jesus shares this parable in Luke 12:16-34, “16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” In this parable, the rich man had been blessed beyond measure, and he ran out of room in his barn for the harvest. Instead of giving the extra away, he decided to build bigger barns to store it all. God was displeased with his decision to hoard what he had been given. We do not receive blessings from God to store up and save. We must take what we have been given and give it away to display our gratitude. Let’s choose to give thanks this year by giving back, and our gratitude will be good for us and those around us. The generosity of Mary and Joseph impacted the entire world. I am thankful they chose to give Jesus away to each of us.
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)

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