You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9: 11

 

In our world thanksgiving should come easily. We have wealth, convenience, excellent medical care, well-established governments to provide order, and resources of many types to call upon when needed. We live lives that are continually blessed and satisfying. However, this last state of being is seldom the one where our hearts and our minds reside. For the other side of this coin that we know as life is the one where there is much pain, great sorrow, and times that are hard to withstand. There is illness, deceit, oppression, violence, joblessness, homelessness, rejection, and shame. Wherever he has been able Satan has taken his giant mallet of Godlessness and crushed the beauty out of Creation. There are broken and damaged people, institutions, and places all around us.

 

Still, God’s Word declares that He is offering much to us. Through the rubble there comes a beam of light that promises that we are not forgotten. A voice reaches out to a dying soul and hope is sparked so that Christ’s gift of grace can begin to restore this being to life. People set aside comfort and concern for their own safety so that their hands can start to clear the debris that is crushing the air out of the lungs of people who are trapped under sin’s weight. Christ did not walk down the calm streets of His world and stay safely inside of the walls of His own house. He went out into His community and reached out to touch the hearts of people with God’s promise of healing and restoration. God grants to each of His people the ability and the opportunity to do these same things.

 

We don’t need health, wealth, comfort, a permanent home, societal or even familial acceptance, or position and power in order to accept Christ’s gift of Himself. God is not a careful screener of the people that He accepts into His presence. He is also not discriminating when it comes to lavishing His generosity upon us. Jesus tells us, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” All of us experience times of labor when the burden is too heavy to continue to bear. He wants to lift the load enough so that we can continue on. Christ joins us in facing the brokenness of our own lives and in our world. He provides an outlook on life that leads to a thankful appreciation of God’s love for us, and Christ takes us into our world with acts of loving service that are great blessings to God.