God has not blessed us with time just so we can use it binge-watching Netflix. He has not blessed us with money just so we can spend it on more comforts. He has not blessed us with abilities and skills just so we can serve our own interests and passions. The generosity of God has been extended to us with blessings of time, talent and treasure that we might both enjoy them ourselves and extend them to bless others. Those of us who are trusting in Jesus have been entrusted with showing the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet and mouth to them. You have been blessed; now go be a blessing.
Great is MY faithfulness is not part of a proverb or hymn. Nobody would ever celebrate my ability to do what I should do or do what I say I will do. I’m both a promise-maker and a promise-breaker. A thousand times I have failed to follow-through on my intentions in keeping God’s expectations as I have followed Jesus. And a thousand times I have received in return… Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Encouragement. Renewal. Correction. Power. Motivation. Reassurance. Acceptance. Instruction. Hope. Love. I cannot say that I have kept all of my promises to God. But I can say that He has kept all of His promises to me.
You can look all around and conclude that God is absent or that He is present. May He give us spiritual eyes that see… Not just the beauty of a sunset, but the God who paints the sky. Not just the miracle of a baby’s birth, but the God who brings things to life. Not just the taste of a great meal, but the God who invented flavors. Not just the satisfaction of achieving a goal, but the God who empowers us to do so. Not just a lovely wedding, but the God who created marriage. Not just a great day, but the God who offers us eternal life. Shining through every good and right and true thing we see is an ever-present God.
The sweetest of all thankfulness isn’t superficial; it goes deep. It goes past feeling happy that certain things are in our lives. It goes past naming those things so it is known that we appreciate them. It goes past even tracing their origin back to God and thanking the Giver for all of our blessings. There is a delightful, wonderful, beautiful experience when our gratitude is not merely directed toward God for His gifts, but toward God for Himself. We give thanks that among many things, He is a holy, loving, kind and gracious Father. The way to be best thankful for all that God has given us is to be most thankful for Him.
We can be grateful for many things, and we should be. We can be grateful to many people, and we should be. We can be grateful on many occasions, and we should be. But there is One who makes every good thing, every good person and every good occasion in our lives possible by His amazing grace. God sent Jesus to be perfect for us because we aren’t, absorb wrath for sin so we don’t, and secure the blessings for us that we can’t. Jesus paid our sin penalty and paid for our special privileges so that we might be forgiven, freed and favored. Today and every day, let us offer thanks for His giving.
We require it. We request it. We receive it. We rely on it. But let’s be clear about it… Grace isn’t given because we are great, but because God is. The grace of God testifies to the glory of God. When it is received and rightly understood, it results in worship for the One who gives it. It should prompt in us as receivers a celebration of Him and commendation of Him as a generous, powerful, wise, good, rich, holy and loving God. Those who think they merit what they receive have little praise for God; those who know all they have is a gift have much praise for God. Today, as He gives grace to us, let us give glory to Him.
Contentment increases when your awareness of grace does. The more you recognize what God has done, is doing and will do for you as a free and undeserved gift, the more you will be grateful for what you have and not grumble over what you do not have. Praising will replace pouting. Worshipping will replace whining. Celebrating will replace complaining. So… To nurture this contentment, we should regularly look back at God’s faithfulness to us in Christ and look forward to God’s promises to us in Christ. Praise God! We don’t have to look very hard to appreciate all that we are given; we just have to look.