What does it mean to ‘Give Thanks’ and why is this important to stewardship?
This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 22:14 – 19, when Jesus served the wine and broke the bread, and gave thanks.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
When most Christians eat dinner, they offer a prayer over their food, and thank God for it. If we’re in a restaurant, we usually pray before we dig in to the appetizer or salad. My wife is funny, when the main course arrives, she giggles a little and says we should pray again, because it looks so good. She says the same thing when the dessert arrives.
Giving thanks, sounds like a strange way to describe it
To give something usually means material possessions not words, doesn’t it? Our society doesn’t place much value on words today. Words are freely thrown around. If you watch news programs, it seems as if words are used with so much poison, designed to ridicule and put down political opponents. We casually select words we say in emails, particularly when we are under a lot of pressure or are anxious.
Jesus talked about the tongue:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37 ESV
Thankful words reveal where our treasure is
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. According to Luke 6:21. If your treasure is in heavenly things, if you have a grateful heart, you’ll automatically say thanks a lot.
Grateful people aren’t bitter and constantly in want of more
The evil person places more value on non-heavnely treasures. When they face injustice, disappointment, and life doesn’t go their way, they become bitter and lack gratitude. The person putting up treasures in heaven, is thankful for all of the good things they have, as well as everything else too. Everyone faces difficulty and most of us have a long wish list, but the good people Jesus is talking about, are able to be thankful for nearly everything, whether good or not so good (see Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28).
Giving thanks is huge – it’s a very meaningful and valuable gift
The verse from Matthew above shows that by our mere words, we are justified; that shows there is tremendous power in the things we say. Therefore when we give God thanks and praise, we are offering a valuable gift. We are showing him our appreciation. We are pointing our hearts to the gift giver. God loves these gifts of praise, and it makes him smile.
Good stewards are generous with their thanks
They are constantly giving away nice words. They generously tell others and God of their appreciation. These kind of people are happier. They know that everything they have is a gift from God, and they manage it for him and not for themselves. They cheerfully and generously give the valuable gift of thanks all day long. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7.
Call to action
List the things you are grateful for, it’s a fun liberating exercise, something good to do every day. If this was helpful, list your comment below about what you thought of this, and maybe some of the things you are grateful for. A helpful book to me about this subject is 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, check it out!
*This Monday blog post is a chronological walk through of the four gospels, examining any verse that involves money and stewardship. This is the sixty-first post in this series.