Thanksgiving for the Christian, is centered around the Father Who gave us so much to be thankful for. Most Americans do reflect on the fact that God has given us so many blessings and we are grateful to receive them. But, let's take a moment to consider the other half of this. It's not just about what we have been given. It's also about what we can give in return.
"Jesus also said to the man who had invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite you in return, and so you are paid back. But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. Then you will be blessed, because they have no way of repaying you, and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. " Luke 14:12-14 (Amplified)
Just what is Jesus referring to in this statement? It's a reflection on the perfection of God's love. He set all things in order. It is a two sided relationship, one of giving and one of receiving. If it's not a two way street, it will surely collapse. We can't expect that God will always answer prayer because He expects us to do something in return as well. If we truly love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength, we will desire to do things the way He ordained them. There is an order, for God is order. Our main purpose as humans is to please Him. How do we do that? Jesus already told us in the gospel of Luke, not to give in order to receive, but to give from the heart to those who are in need.
God already gave us sanctification, justification and an equal inheritance into His kingdom as His adopted sons and daughters the moment we accepted Christ Jesus. With this great gift, we are expected to love others as we love ourselves.
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virute and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. " 1 Peter 2:9 (Amplified)
We have been given this through Christ, we are chosen to be like Him in that we are to be examples of His virtue. Christ came to GIVE, not just to the rich, the healthy the upright, but to the poor, the sick, and the sinner. He GAVE His very life so that we too may live an eternal life with Him. For this very reason we are expected to GIVE. He gave His all freely to anyone who wished to receive it. He came to show us how to live according to God's order of things. Jesus didn't perform miracles just so He would look good and He certainly didn't hang on a Cross to die so we would feel sorry for Him. No, He GAVE us His heart in order that we would receive Him into ours. So, whatever we do in this life is to be from the heart, not what we do to impress others. It's the quiet, silent things we do that pleases God the most. He tells us that what we do in private will be rewarded in the open. This is the love and the giving that Christ came to show His people. Since God has already so richly blessed us in Christ, we should want to be a blessing to those who are in need without expecting to be repaid. We have already received our payment in full.
This is the time of year that we see everyone with their hands out for some kind of contribution. We often get aggitated at all the beggars and avoid them. In reality, when we miss the chance to give, we are telling the Lord that we don't need or want His blessings. Why should He expect us to help people we don't even know?
Again, Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that on the day of judgement, He will seperate us in one of two catagories. We will be considered as sheep or goats. The sheep will be at His right hand, and the goats at His left. Who are these sheep and goats anyway? Here is the Lord's answer;
"Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’. " Matthew 25:34 (Amplified)
The sheep are obviously those who have been chosen, the royal priesthood, those who have been purchased who are to set forth the wonderful deeds of giving and displaying those virtues to others without expecting anything in return. The sheep belong to Christ. So then who are the goats?
"Then He will say to those at His left hand, ‘Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!’ " Matthew 25:41 (Amplified)
The goats are those who have rejected Christ's invitation for salvation. These are the unsaved, unregenerated people who don't meet anyone else's needs but their own. It all boils down to the giving or lack thereof. So, in essence we should pay careful attention because we just never know Who we may be helping or not helping! He tells us further in this chapter that whatever we do or don't do for others, we are doing to Him as well.
The writer of Hebrews took this very seriously when they wrote these words;
"Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers (in the brotherhood-being friendly, cordial, gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously), for through it some have entertained angels, without knowing it. " Hebrews 13:2 (Amplified)
God often times sends us angels, some who come as regular people in order to bless us, but many times we won't recognize it as a blessing. How we receive others will determine the blessings that God has for us. We are forever being tested. If we know this, we should be prompted to be givers from the heart.
Paul wrote in the book of Acts, that we as Christians are expected to help those less fortunate.
"In everything I have pointed out to you [by example] that, by working diligently in this manner, we ought to assist the weak, being mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive’. " Acts 20:35 (Amplified)
We are to give not to look good to others, but from the heart to please the Lord. But how can we be so sure that God will reward us? He promises that He will.
"Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you. " Luke 6:38 (Amplified)
Whatever we give out to others, God is able to give back in abundance! God sees our motives, our very hearts. Ask God this holiday season not what He can do for you but rather what you can do for someone else in Jesus’ name. There are so many missions out there that are in need of money to feed and clothe the homeless, not just in this country but all over the world. We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is our job not only to feed the physical body, but the spiritual one as well. I pray you think about this and ask the Lord to lead you to be a blessing to someone in need this holiday season.
"As you seek the counsel of God, hearken to His call. He may show you just one in need or He may show you all. Remember in giving unto others, you also give to God. There is nothing done that is too big and certainly none that is too small. " Vivian Gordon
Vivian Gordon writes inspirational and spiritual articles in which to help strengthen the Believer's walk in Christ. They are often taken from today's point of view and used in conjunction with what God says about certain situations and how we are to handle them. There is always an answer for every problem. These articles are not all about asking God “why?" but in finding the answers.