November 28th

Thanks Giving

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:6-16 NIV 

It’s hard to believe that it’s the holiday season again.  As many of us sit down to a delicious, bountiful meal on Thanksgiving, no doubt we will be mindful of how God has blessed us in so many ways.  Paul talked about another Thanks & Giving that I thought would be appropriate to write about for today’s devotional. 

God gave us the ultimate example of a truly generous heart by sending Jesus to die for us so that we could be reconciled to him.  As God’s children (Romans 8:14-17), we are to be like our heavenly Father in being generous with all that he has given us.  Not only does he desire us to be generous, but also to be cheerful in doing so!  

Perhaps one of the lies that hold people back from being generous is the idea that they might run out if they give too much.  Paul said that God will supply all that we need so that we will “abound” in every good work.  When we give, God replenishes us so that we can continue to give!   Not only will God replenish us, but he will “increase [our] store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of [our] righteousness.”  We will literally be made rich “in every way” so that we “can be generous on every occasion.”  Do you believe this? 

People will bring thanksgiving and praise to God as a result of our obedience in giving. Paul said that it would bring an “overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”  It will also supply the needs of God’s people and bring heartfelt prayers on our behalf from the people who we helped.   

If we close our hearts toward people in need we will have to give an account to God for our stinginess.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  Additionally, Jesus gave a sobering warning in Matthew 25:31-46 to those who decide not to help people in need.  

I hope that all of us will take a new look at the opportunities we have to bless people each day.  Whether it is sharing, giving, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the elderly, etc., we are placed in unique situations everyday to help people. Many of us live in affluence compared to many people in the rest of the world.  We have the unique privilege and honor to become conduits of God’s blessing and provision to people in need.  If we cheerfully embrace these opportunities to give in the name of Jesus, we will stem overflowing thanks to God. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving us the ultimate gift in Jesus Christ!  Thank you also for blessing me with so many things: __________(list as applicable (ex. family, finances, friends, job, etc..).  Lord, I confess that even with all these blessings, I have fallen short of being the cheerful, generous giver that Paul wrote about in the above passage.  Please forgive me.  I commit to changing my attitude and becoming a generous giver.  Please fill me with faith in you as my Provider and teach me how to trust in your provision.  Holy Spirit, please renew your fire in me and strengthen my convictions in the moments when I am to give to others.  All I have is yours, Lord.  I desire to be a faithful servant.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”