Yesterday, the first full day of autumn, brought beautiful sunshine and the first cool breezes of the year to our subtropical region. Moreover, a local store offered one of the quintessential features of fall, namely, the initial fruits of the McIntosh apple crop for the year. The timing of these blessings seemed Divinely and personally coordinated, and I received and enjoyed them as such.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
If you've been with us awhile, you may recall my fondness for McIntosh apples. As I wrote to a dear friend yesterday, these jewels of God's horticultural creativity are the "perfect balance of sweet and tart, soft without being mealy, and fragranced like Eden." I'm also a fan of cool breezes after a long summer of heat and humidity (pretty sure I'm not alone in this inclination!). Add beautiful sunshine and the calendar event of autumn's arrival, and all in all, you have the makings of a pretty good day. It was, and that which really made it wonderful was the realization of coordination rather than coincidence. Indeed, what if there had been no one to thank for yesterday's blessedness? What if it had not actually been blessedness, but rather the mere confluence of natural events that just happened to happen?
It would still have been a nice day. The apples would have looked, smelled, and tasted as they did. The sun would have shined, the breezes would have dried the sweat from our summer-laden brows, and the calendar would have dutifully recorded the first day of fall. But what if there had been no one to thank? I shudder at the thought. Humanity's innate capacity for the expression of gratitude requires a recipient for our offering. The recipient must also be conscious for thanksgiving to have any real meaning and significance. Thanking our lucky stars, as it were, doesn't do much for either ourselves or the stars. There must be someone to thank for blessings to actually be blessings, and for our experience of "good gifts and perfect gifts" to grace our hearts with true joy rather than mere enjoyment. There must be God, "the Father of Lights" who bears a heart of generosity beyond imagining, and who, as the hymn writer so beautifully pens, "Out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again."
There was someone to thank yesterday, as there will be in this day and forevermore. Wonderfully, the Holy Spirit bore witness within my heart of apples, breezes, sunshine, and autumn consisting not merely of beauty, but of the Artist whose sublime heart and mind fashions such grace. Gratitude felt and offered completed the experience of the gift given and received, along with opportunities such as this to share the appreciation with others. "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!" (Psalm 34:3). There is Someone to thank, and He blesses us not only by His gifts, but by the capacity for thanksgiving that elicits within our hearts the reality and realization of the Giver.
"God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work… being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."
(II Corinthians 9:8-11)
Weekly Memory Verse
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."