A blessing came in the mail the other day. A couple that God had blessed through me was prompted to spend a few dollars for a nice card in order to express their appreciation. They took a couple of moments to write a few words which made my heart dance for joy and a smile race across my face. My life was imbued with the truth Jesus declared when He said, “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).
That’s one of life’s most important lessons, isn’t it? It is a lesson that a newly promoted assistant manager at the big-box-store on the corner of the mall parking lot needs to learn. He speaks to his supervisor, complaining that he is not getting any respect from his subordinates. His store manager candidly remarks that, since his elevation to assistant manager, she has observed him treating the people he supervises like pond scum. She then explains, “You must give respect to get respect.” How true! In relationships with others we don’t get by getting. Instead, we get by giving. Of course, this falls right in line with Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
“Thanks” is just a word. “Giving thanks” is a multifaceted life-skill. It involves an attitude of gratitude, combined with a heart honestly giving thanks to its benefactor. It requires the ability to concede our limitations and the humility to accept God’s grace imparted to us in various forms. It requires the spiritual insight necessary to understand that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (cf. James 1:17)
That’s why the annual Thanksgiving Holiday is special to me. It’s not just a time to remember all that God has done for us; it is a time to remember all that God intends to do through us. He has poured His richest of blessings into our lives because He wishes to bless the world through us. As the Holy Spirit instructs through the Apostle Paul, “you will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).
Thanksgiving really is all about thanksliving, isn’t it?
© Bill Williams
November 21, 2006