I don’t think it is any coincidence that Christmas follows Thanksgiving. To me the time of gratitude brings me to a very humble place before the Christmas holiday. I could list a million things I am grateful for, but today I was reminded by my scripture that my ultimate Thanksgiving is to God. I have been on a journey this year to complete the bible in a year, I started with a plan on my bible app but then became so invested in the old testament I purchased a chronological bible so I could physically hold it because well that is my favorite book is one I can hold and physically turn the pages of, I hope that when I am gone my children look at this bible and wonder how many hours and years I spent pouring over His word. As I finished November’s reading I was in Romans and something struck me… we spend so much time in gratitude for things we can see and touch but how often do we spend time in gratitude that God has given gifts we did not earn nor will we ever repay.
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exist by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen!”
This hit me, am I asking what glory I have been blessed for? What is it that I am to do to glorify Him with all that He has given me? So I asked that. As I read a little farther down I was answered in Romans 12: 9-13
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
I have said many times in my life, God asked me to love people not to decide if they deserved it first, can I tell you that is not always easy, he has put people in my life who sometimes are difficult to love. I recently ran across a quote I put on my wallpaper on my phone ( that makes it important you know) Never stop being a good person because of bad. Sometimes we want to throw the book at people, hey Thanksgiving is probably the most popular holiday for that. You don’t want to spend time with people who are not doing things the way we see fit and we throw some judgement from the privacy of our car as we are leaving. Maybe you don’t do it to your family maybe you do it to your friends and how they handle things, maybe you do it to someone you think will never get it right. Maybe you do it to the man holding his sign on the corner of the intersection. Do you tell yourself- I earned this- I deserve this, they did not. This year I have been trying to put a big STOP sign to joy killers of judgement and comparison and open my doors to who ever needs to walk through them even if they come with dirt of life on them I pray it leaves footprints on my heart.
I have always been proud to be of an agriculture background but struggled to see where that fit into my life, God has made you and I farmers of people, he says we should feed them and love them not that we can save them but that they may see Jesus in us.
Thanksgiving taught me something this year and it is this, God did not call me to ignore the pain of the world and look away, he called me to kneel down and look his children in the eyes no matter how messed up they feel or how horribly they have treated me or others and provide some humanity, God said if they are hungry feed them, if they are thirsty give them a drink. I hope this is what my children learn. I hope they learn kindness. I hope they learn giving and that they give freely.
I have been asked many times in my giving, what if they buy something frivolous with what you gave, what if they sold your gift for cash, what if they don’t really need a free haircut, hot meal, or whatever God has put in your hands to offer. To that I say- God did not say judge them and deem them worthy of your giving, He doesn’t look at my sin and weigh if I am worth the risk He simply kneels down and looks me in the eye and holds out His hand. So in this season of giving following our time of thanks, I challenge you to be as generous to those around you as you would your very own child on Christmas morning because we are all His children and His grace and mercy flow freely, shouldn’t yours? If our stockings were all full of what we “deserved” wouldn’t we all be on the naughty list? I am not saying this is easy for me but I am learning and many times a day I hear my thoughts and say “ girl you better check yoself” but it is my goal, my daily prayer to do better, to be better and more in the moments he created me for.
Thank you God that you keep no record of my wrongs and I pray that I keep no record either.