November 16, 2015 by Tricia Draper
Last time we spoke on gifts, we pointed out how many gifts God has blessed us with. But, He showed me that a gift is not a gift until it is received. You may put a present into a box, but it is not a “gift” until someone opens it. So, God gave all those gifts we talked about to everyone, but you have to receive it, or it is not going to do you any good.
For instance, we talked about how God gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus, in John 3:16.
• John 3:16
• For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
We know that God gave His Son, and Jesus gave us His life. But those gifts are not realized until they are received. Jesus died for all of human kind, but the ones who don’t receive it will not reap its reward: Eternal Life. So even though God gave, you have to receive in order to have it truly be a gift to you.
The same is true with the Holy Spirit. God gave us the Holy Spirit so we could have a Comforter and a Guide. He is the One the gifts flow from as we see in John 14:16, Acts 5:32, and 1 John 4:13. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 gives us some of the gifts the Holy Spirit administers.
So, we see that God loves to give us gifts, but now we need to understand about giving our gifts to Him. In the Old Testament we see some examples of the urging to give back to God.
• Psalm 100:4
• Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
The author of this Psalm knew how important it was to give thanks. When someone gives you a gift, you should thank them. It is no different with your Heavenly Father. In fact, it should be much more so with Him, because He has given us intimately more than we could ever give Him. We find that many wars won in the Old Testament were celebrated with thanksgiving. In Psm 106:1 we find a benefit of Praising the Lord.
• Psalm 106:1
• Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
This passage says that when we give thanks, His love endures forever. His love will always endure forever, but think of it this way; when you give gifts to someone and they are appreciative and thank you, you want to bless them with more gifts. I think this author knew that by thanking God, you could feel His love enduring with you all the more. Remember, in the Old Testament, they didn’t have Jesus like we do now. So their gifts were different than ours. They had a different covenant. But they still knew their God was great and loved them. They knew that by thanking Him, it pleased Him, and He was able to bless them even more.
It is not enough to be just a “giver” to God, but a thankful one. As it says in 2 Cor. 9:7
• 2 Corinthians 9:7
• Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
This verse has different meanings to different people, but I want to focus on the end. God loves a Cheerful Giver. When you give thanks, or anything, He wants us to do it cheerfully! Again, when you give a gift and someone says thank you, but doesn’t do it cheerfully or with any true feelings behind it, it makes you a little sad. You may not see the side effects right away, but you don’t feel like giving them a gift any time soon. It takes away your joy. When we aren’t thankful to God from our heart, joyfully, then He gets a little sad. He wants to bless us, but it’s not as much fun when we don’t thankfully give back to Him.
Luke tells us in chapter 6:38
• Luke 6:38
• Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke is telling us that with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. That means that the more we give thanks to God, the more He is able to bless us.
Paul tells us in Acts 20:35
• Acts 20:35
• …remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
When we are thankful to God, He blesses us with the love of giving to others. The more we give, the more we gain. This is only true when given with a pure and thankful heart. If we give only to get in return, it doesn’t work very well. We must give only wishing to bless others.
Paul again shows us in 1 Cor. 13:3
• 1 Corinthians 13:3
• If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
He is showing us that even if we go to extremes with giving, but do so without love and thanksgiving, we gain nothing. It all comes down to your heart. You may be able to fool the people around you, but you are not able to fool God. He knows a thankful, cheerful giver who gives from the heart.
Mathew 13:12 shows us how blessed we will be when we give with a pure heart.
• Matthew 13:12
• Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
1 Thes. 5:16 is one of my favorite scriptures.
• 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18New International Version (NIV)
• 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In this Thanksgiving season in America, we need to realize that the Pilgrims were giving thanks to God for their situation. It was not an ideal situation, but they gave thanks, knowing God had brought them thus far, and He would bring them on. They had faith; they trusted.
Thanksgiving is not supposed to be only a holiday in America. It may not be a holiday in the rest of the world, but truly everyday should be Thanksgiving. We are to be thankful every day about everything. God loves a cheerful giver and blesses us back according to what we have given. We must give out of a thankful heart to truly reap all the blessings the Lord has for those who give.
Looking back on 1 Thes. 5:16 it says, “Rejoice always.” You can only rejoice when you are thankful. We also find in Phil. 4:4 (another favorite scripture),
• Philippians 4:4
• Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
So, this holiday season, and every day, be mindful to give back to God with a thankful heart and Rejoice!!
God bless you always!
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