What are you most thankful for? This month, many of us will gather around tables laden with extravagant feasts, gathered with friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving. Although we often associate Thanksgiving with pilgrims and the “First Thanksgiving” with Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the tradition of a day of giving thanks for the harvest and the blessings of the year goes back to the 1500s.
When I was a kid, we had a Thanksgiving dinner tradition in which everyone had to say something they were thankful for. I remember one year, someone joking, “the dishwasher,” given the extensive cleanup following the meal. Well, wouldn’t you know, the dishwasher died that very day, and we got a good laugh out of washing dishes by hand.
God gives us blessings
God has blessed us with so much. In worship, during communion, we celebrate the “Great Thanksgiving” each week, giving thanks to God for how God has blessed us throughout time and our lives. Every blessing in our lives is a God-sighting, and it is helpful to name them. We quickly realize that everything that we have and love, and even need for survival comes from God and is given to us. What a benevolent and generous God we have!
In fact, generosity is one of God’s most predominant traits. In the Bible, we find stories mostly about God being generous and gracious to God’s people as they find themselves constantly falling short and ending up in all kinds of messes. Today, we know the same is true about us. We give thanks to God for all of the blessings in our lives – we have so much to be thankful for! – especially for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. God has granted us forgiveness of sin, salvation, and eternal life. Thanks be to God!
God blesses us to be a blessing to others
However, as we are entrusted with such blessings, we are also entrusted with responsibilities, namely to use these blessings wisely and for the sake of the Gospel. If God has been so generous to us, we ought to be generous with others! Generosity comes in so many forms: financial giving, patience, kindness, volunteering, and every kind deed. In the Bible, we find that God blesses Abraham and his descendants, and God’s people Israel so that they can be a blessing to others. We are blessed to be a blessing.
At St Mark, we are currently in the midst of budget drafting time, as we plan our ministry for the coming year. A church’s budget is the most accurate mission document it has. It shows where our priorities lie – where we are putting our time and resources. My hope is that we are prioritizing ministry that is generous to the community around us! As we consider using the resources God has entrusted us with, the question is: are we keeping our blessings to ourselves, or are we sharing them with others?
In this season of Stewardship, I hope we can all ask ourselves that very question. I hope that we can make generosity a priority in our congregation, and I hope that your generosity can help make all of the ministry we do possible.
Thanks be to God.