gIve thanks

​by Pastor Mark Jordan

 “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.” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV)
This week we are exploring how to live a life of active thanksgiving. Yesterday we explored giving generously and cheerfully, because God is a giver. I want to revisit yesterday’s passage today, because of another critical component of what it means to give thanks. This leads us to the ‘I,’ in our acrostic, which means individually.
The Apostle Paul said that everyone should give what you have decided in your heart to give. This points to the fact that you have a say in the matter. God wants you to reflect over what you feel you should give, and give it generously, cheerfully. This is a very important aspect of giving thanks, because it calls us out of two critical aspects of our human nature to focus on God, which is where our focus on giving should be.
So often when we feel called to be generous, it comes from a sense of guilt or compulsion. This is what God wants you to decide yourself what you are called to give. In so doing, however, you must be cognizant of your ability to give, recognizing others have different abilities and responsibilities. In other words, don’t compare your gift to others, or compete with other givers. This takes the focus off of God, and onto self. Competing and/or comparing contradicts generosity, because you can’t out-give God.
God loves a cheerful giver. Will you be one? Will you be generous in giving thanks? You have so much for which to be thankful. Take the time to discern the many things you have to be thankful for, and give thanks!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am thankful for your generous love in my life. Forgive me for the times when I lose sight of my individual blessings, because I compare and compete with others. Help me to place my focus of generosity where it belongs, squarely on you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.