The Paradox of Saying Thank You by Giving it Away

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Throughout the bible thankfulness is always associated with giving. Thankfulness for a gift + the sharing of that gift = Thanksgiving. However, we live in a world that is obsessed with “what’s in it for me?” Maybe this why, in our modern culture, Thanksgiving is mostly reduced to over-eating and football. This type of inward focus actually inhibits us from really enjoying the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, or life at that.  However, true gratitude of a gift always expresses itself in the sharing of a gift. So how can we really experience Thanksgiving this year, throughout the year? Isaiah 12 tells us. We must experience the gift, so that we can share the gift. Because we cannot share what we do not have. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Matthew 12:34. We have to be able to have the “thanks” in order to do the “giving.” Otherwise there can be no Thanksgiving.

Isaiah 12:3 says “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” When the Israelites were in the desert, God supplied them with water from a smitten rock (Ex. 17:6; Num. 20:8–11). This miracle was later celebrated by an impressive ceremony in the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles. Water = life, especially for Israel in the desert. Centuries later Jesus alluded to this ceremony in John 7:37 when, on the last day of the feast, He invited the people to come to Him and drink. Christ is the fountain whence flows the water that will bring life and healing to us. God gave us an amazing gift in His Son, Jesus. Through his Death and Resurrection although we live in a wilderness, and work in a wilderness, and often our lives feel like parched wilderness we can come to Jesus and drink freely from His water and be renewed. In fact Revelation 21:6 assures us that only the glorious day Jesus returns He will declare “And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” What an amazing gift!

In Narcotics Anonymous we had a saying: Gratitude speaks when we care and we share the NA way. If I really appreciate my gift of recovery than I will naturally give it to someone else. You cannot keep what you have unless you give it away. The same goes for the Gospel. Once we truly appreciate the gift of the Gospel (the “thanks”) giving is a natural response. The very next verse in Isaiah 12:4 says “And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.” When you see his amazing blessings you will share his amazing blessings. Think about it…if there were more praise among the people of God there would be less pouting, people pleasing, or faultfinding. It’s because we fail to remember the wonderful mercies of Heaven (the giving) that we dwell on the mistakes of others. So let’s really celebrate Thanksgiving this year by making known all He has done for us! Dwell on the ultimate gift Jesus, and express that thankfulness by sharing the gift with someone else.

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