Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"In Order To Give"

    As the fruit of the Holy Spirit's working in us, and as the expression of faith and obedience to God, thanksgiving greatly benefits us.  Furthermore, our Heavenly Father calls to a life of gratitude not for selfish reasons on His part, but rather because thanksgiving accomplishes much in filling and fulfilling our hearts.  We are in tune with reality when we express appreciation to the Benefactor who "giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).
    We do not, however, give thanks in order to receive blessings or benefits.  Our motivation must be love.  We give thanks because we want to bless the heart of the God who so loves us, and who so cherishes our affection and devotion.  Just as "out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again," so do we want to found giving and giving and giving again expressions of heartfelt gratitude.
     I'm not sure there is anything else we actually have to give to God.  We belong to Him, as does everybody and everything in the world.  "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1).  Devoting ourselves and our possessions to Him, therefore, is actually more of a recognition of reality on our part.  We come to our senses when we believe in the Lord Jesus, and our consecration involves not so much the giving to God of that which already belongs to Him, but of acknowledging the truth of our redeemed being. 
    Thanksgiving, however, involves something that we freely form within our hearts as an offering to God.  As referenced in yesterday's message, the Holy Spirit must certainly lead and enable us in our expressions of adoration.  There is nevertheless something real and "original," as it were, in our personal offerings to God.  We are not robots.  We are persons, persons energized and motivated by the Holy Spirit, and persons whose human faculties become liberated and enabled in Christ to genuinely love our Lord with "freewill offerings" (Psalm 119:108).  Thanksgiving and praise therefore provide opportunity for giving a gift to God of that which we draw from somewhere deep within our humanity for the purpose of blessing His heart.  This must serve as our motivation in giving thanks, rather than the merely mercenary notion of expressing gratitude for our own benefit.  We give not to get, although we do get.  We rather give in order to give, to give perhaps that one gift our Christ-inhabited and enabled being can form for the purpose of blessing the Heart that has so blessed our hearts.
"When ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will."(Leviticus 22:29)
"I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good."
(Psalm 54:6)

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