Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and this time of year it is common to use sermons, devotions, and blogs to ask the audience, “What are you thankful for?” While there is certainly nothing wrong with that, as I have done that myself many times, I want to take a different approach. Instead of asking what you are thankful for, I wonder how you are showing your gratitude.
When we focus being thankful (which is important!), we are focusing on what we have been blessed with, but we also need to focus on what we are giving away.
Paul told the Corinthian Christians that “each one of you should give, not begrudgingly, nor of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7).” Giving is not something we should be forced into to please someone else, like parents or pastors; it should be done to please the Lord, because He loves it, and to please others, because He loves them.
The word cheerful comes from the same word that we translate as hilarious. This doesn’t mean that giving is funny, but that our giving should come from a happy heart. It pleases God when it pleases us to give.
We should give of our tithe (and offerings) to the church, as well as to those outside the church who are in need. We should give of our time in the church by teaching, singing, serving, or driving, and we should invest time outside the church in the lives of others. We should give of our talents to disciple believers in the church and to make the world outside the church a better place.
We also need to give the gospel. Take the good news of Jesus’ salvation to the lost and dying world around you. If you are giving of your tithe, time, and talents, than the world will be quicker to receive your talking about Jesus.
Most importantly, if you have not yet been saved by God, then you can cheerfully give Him your heart. All who call out to Him as Lord can have their sins forgiven, and God will cheerfully give you salvation.