Friday, January 04, 2013

Give Thanks and Receive Joy!

This past week-end, I bet I heard thank you a hundred times, at least. Most of the students who came through the meal lines were eager to say those words. And our youth evangelist, Jerod McPherson, came through to thank all the volunteers for their generosity. Not once, but several times.

To be told you are appreciated is akin to being given a huge present! Each thank you lights up the face of the recipient and causes them to hold their shoulders a light straighter and return the gift with a smile! Appreciation lightens the load. Gratefulness eases burdens and cares. Would we have continued to serve the Lord had the students not said thank you? Of course. Would we have kept being volunteers if Jerod had not taken the time to come by and speak to each of us personally? Of course. Because we serve a risen Lord, and He’s the one who gives us our reward.

But the special, continual thanks made for more joy, more strength, more eagerness! It also incites us to return the favor. “You’re welcome!” “Thank you!” and more are given as thankfulness gifts are exchanged.
Perhaps you’ve been under a load of troubles, bondage or care. You’ve tried to keep working, keep striving, keep earning your rewards but the load is getting so heavy that you’re just about to sit down and give up. After all, why should you do anything that garners no kindness? Maybe you figure it doesn’t matter to anyone because no one has said a thing to you. Remember, God’s thankfulness isn’t a matter of being perfect, gathering possessions or having things work out the way we want. Rather, thankfulness is an attitude of the heart.

Oh beloved, you matter incredibly to God! And, because you matter to Him, what you do matters as well! Because He has given you everything you need for life and godliness – everything – then it only stands to reason that thanksgiving and praise and glory and honor are due to the One Who made it all possible. Run to the Lord this morning and give Him the glory He is due! Give thanks to the One Who gives you breath and strength to be His hands and feet in this lost and dying world. You may be the only one who seems to know or care what you’re doing, but God sees it all. And, because God sees you, He rewards you as well. His rewards are peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, self-control and more. Who else can take an ungrateful heart and replace it with thankfulness? Only the One Who loves you and cares for you eternally. If you’re looking for applause, look into Jesus’ Wonderful face! If you’re holding back on thankfulness, look at the same Precious face! God loves you and holds you securely in His heart forever!

Psalm 50:14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.

1 Corinthians 16:18 They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

Ruth 2:12 May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”

Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

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