THANKSGIVING: Thankfulness that Gives to Others
In the biblical story of the loaves and the fishes, Christ takes the ordinary, gives thanks for it, and then He makes the miracle happen. God is still in the business of making miracles happen and then multiplying the miracle. The bread of life is multiplied in our lives, and then, as a result, we become broken bread and poured out wine. God’s grace in us pours out of this inner spirit of thankfulness.
Are you thankful? Do you have a Thanksgiving spirit? We give thanks. Could it be more?
There is a tie-in between being thankful to God and the desire to give to others. Out of a spirit of thankfulness something will originate into another manifestation. From within a thankful heart towards God, a selfless expression of care will be given out either in word or deed. There is an automaticity embedded in this, “thanks” found in the nucleus of a thought that often will propel forth into an act of giving.
“Thanks” + “Giving” = Thanks-Giving.
One of the best advertisements for Christ is a person who is authentic. What does an authentic Christ-follower look like? What will their life exhibit? Through my observation of authentic Christians, I have formulated a conclusion which will be broadly defined. An authentic person is calm, peaceful, strong, has inner power and is well-paced. They aren’t in a hurry but they’re not late either. They have something to give but they don’t push their way nor force to be heard. They have an answer when the question is asked. They are truth-bearers. An authentic person can say the hard things but in a kind way, they won’t avoid the question even if it requires swimming upstream against the flowing current of public opinion. There is a gentle nature within them, they know what they’re about. Yet, they can listen to a contrary view without reacting. They care more about the person than the deed. They see possibilities in impossible situations. An authentic Christ-follower is knit to the Source.
When we are thankful to God for what He has done for us and in us, out of this thankfulness we give of ourselves to God and we give to others. When we are giving to others we are giving to God. The two intertwine. The more we give to others, the more we give to God.
In the story referred to above, found in John 6:8-12, we have Jesus, the teacher, with a hungry multitude of people. Christ is going to teach the people by illustration. Christ gives thanks for a simple lunch of five barley loaves and two fishes. After giving thanks, Christ makes the miracle happen. The lunch multiplies. Five thousand are fed. Baskets of food are left over. In essence, Christ gave thanks to the Father, then he gives something physical in nature to meet the people’s need for bread. Christ multiplies the miracle of blessing. The physical need is met. Later, in that very same chapter, it is explained that Jesus Christ is the bread of life. He is the spiritual bread that will fill and also meet the people’s spiritual need.
Christ is the bread of life. He is our spiritual meat, our life source. Christ multiplies the miracle, the work He is doing in our lives, even when we aren’t aware of it. When we become authentic Christ-followers, He helps himself to our willingness to be bread for others and He projects a miracle in our wake. We need God to feed us in all areas of our lives: physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual. God brings to us the opportunities to give to someone else especially if we ask Him for these opportunities.
Real authenticity? Christ-follower authenticity? Example? Answer: Christ. Read thoughtfully the life of Christ as He lived it. And, there you will find authenticity, the model to follow or the example to expose whether the life is authentic or not.
—–Suggested reading: Joshua, A parable for Today, and Joshua and the Children,
by Joseph F. Girzone