by Matt Sapp
We all know how to say thank you, but the harder part of gratitude is demonstrating thankfulness with our actions. So this November at Central we’ve let scripture help us discover different ways to demonstrate gratitude as we’ve prepared for Thanksgiving.
We’ve talked about loyalty as an expression of gratitude (Joshua 24). We’ve said that we demonstrate gratitude when we make the most of the gifts we’ve been given (Matt 25). And we’ve said that telling the whole world about how others have supported us is another way to demonstrate gratitude (Psalm 100).
So as we all pause for Thanksgiving, here are few questions we might think about:
- How can I be more loyal to family and friends? How can I be more loyal to God?
- How can I do more with the gifts entrusted to me?
- How can I be more generous with my praise?
Loyalty means sticking by someone even when it costs you something. It means being willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt when others don’t. And it can also mean being lovingly honest when others haven’t been.
So, the next time a friend of yours makes a big mistake, make a special effort to let them know you’re standing by them. The next time sticking to your Christian principles is inconvenient, do it anyway. When you hear something less than charitable about someone you know, ask yourself if this is a chance to demonstrate loyalty. And when honest (and difficult) words to a friend are what loyalty requires, have the courage to speak them.
This Thanksgiving, demonstrate gratitude by committing to be more loyal to God and to those you love.
MAKING THE MOST OF OUR GIFTS
We also demonstrate gratitude by making the most of what we’ve been given. So this weekend, take a few minutes to make sure you’re maximizing the gifts with which you’ve been blessed. How are you cultivating your talents and using them for others? Your talents and passions are gifts from God and are meant to be shared.
What about your material resources? Is your community better off because of how you choose to spend your wealth? Will the impact of your giftedness extend beyond your lifetime? Are you really making the most of what you have?
And even more, what about the things that God posesses uniquely—and uniquely entrusts to us? God is wealthy in justice and rich in righteousness and abounding in steadfast love. God entrusts us with peace and hope.
How are we using these gifts? Is justice growing while under our care? What about peace and love? Are we standing up for righteousness?
Are we actively working to see these gifts grow in our communities? Or have we been too hesitant to take God’s gifts out into the world?
This Thanksgiving, commit to being bolder in sharing the gifts of justice and righteousness—and faith and hope and love and joy and peace–with the world around you.
BEING GENEROUS IN OUR PRAISE
Finally, it’s one thing to say thank you to those to whom you are endebted. It’s another thing to share your gratitude with the wider world. How often do you sing the praises of others? Would others describe you as generous with your words?
Sometimes critique and criticism flow too easily from our mouths, while praise gets stuck in our throats.
This Thanksgiving, commit to being more free in your expressions of gratitude so that everyone who knows you, knows how many people have helped you along the way.
So this Thanksgiving, remember:
- be loyal to God and to those closest to you,
- make the most of all that God has given you,
- and let praise flow freely from your heart and from your mouth so that your gratitude is evident to everyone.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.