At our house, we give gifts at Christmastime, remembering that the greatest gift that we have ever received was God’s gift of His Son Jesus. We bake a birthday cake for Jesus and sing “Happy Birthday” to Him on Christmas Day. Reflecting on how much God has given puts a spirit of generosity into my heart and it seems to be present in others, too.
I recall seasons when we didn’t have much money to give gifts, but we still celebrated, with small tokens of love and a lot of laughter and fun with family. It has never been about the gifts, but it is always about the giver and the thought that the person put into the gift, the effort they made to get something that they were sure I would enjoy.
But Christmas is not the only season when people need to be remembered and receive gifts. This is a habit that should continue all year long, as God brings someone to our minds and whispers a need that they may have. Then, we meet that need and we end up receiving a blessing because we were obedient. Some people use the phrase, “what goes around comes around” and others say it’s something called Karma. I prefer to think that it’s a circle with God. We give; others receive; they, in turn, give, and eventually, when we least expect it, we receive a blessing. And the end result is being thankful and giving glory to God!
Let me give an example of what happened to us when we were attending Youth With A Mission in New Jersey. This was back in the 70’s and our daughter was still in diapers when God spoke to us about attending this school. I must confess that is was not what I thought it would be because the organization itself was geared more towards young singles, not young families and they really were not ready or equipped to deal with the needs of those of us who had children. There were seven families there with little ones and after a few weeks of struggling with the demanding schedule and lack of nutritious food for our children, we met together to pray. I’m not joking about the food; it was enough to fill the belly but I’m not convinced it was nutritious for any of us. We had muesli for breakfast, which was really baked oatmeal immersed in water. Filling, yes, so we were thankful, but I must say that it was not at all tasty. We usually had PBJ sandwiches for lunch and sometimes for dinner, we had what we jokingly called “chicken fly” soup. We said the chicken flew over the soup but there was no real chicken in it. Anyway, there was no milk on the menu for our little ones. Hope had recently been weaned and needed milk for her young bones to develop well, as did the the other little ones with us. So, in our prayers, we specifically asked God for milk for our children. I don’t remember how faith-filled I felt that night as I went to bed, but I knew somehow God would provide milk for our children; I just had no idea how. After all, each couple had come to the school with only the personal possessions we had not sold to be able to attend the school, so we had no money to go out and purchase it. At the time, none of us was employed, so there was no income to depend on. We had not told anyone else in the school about our concerns and our prayer for milk, so it absolutely had to be a God thing that the next morning, each couple awoke to find a cold gallon of milk outside our doors. Seven gallons for seven couples! We were amazed at God’s provision, testified in the group meeting and waited expectantly for someone to admit that they had been prodded to buy milk for us. No one admitted the purchase, but what was even more miraculous was that each time one of us was running low on milk, a new gallon appeared outside of our door. We thankfully received and gave the milk to our little ones, nourishing their bodies and our souls. That gift has been a testimony for years of God’s provision. He loves little children so much that He takes the time to provide for the nourishment of their physical bodies. I have no doubt that He used someone at that school to do so, but no one came forward to admit their generosity, so I give all of the glory to God who is the provider of all things. In receiving that milk, I was encouraged to complete the training at the school and learned a lot about the Bible, its history and its Author from some really great teachers. I received so much more than the milk for Hope. I got a testimony of God’s provision that has remained a constant reminder of just how much He cares about the little details of our lives. I have shared the testimony numerous times and each time, someone receives a blessing from hearing about it. Not from my words, but from God’s work and the surprises that He has in store for us when we believe and step out in faith.
Generous giving leads to thanksgiving to God which in turn leads to more generous giving and overflowing thanks to God. It’s a circle of giving and receiving and thanking and then doing it all over again. I am always amazed at how God knows and meets our needs, and the story that I told above is a true one that I have shared with my grandchildren who need to know how much God loves them. He truly, truly, watches over each of us and meets our needs. Sometimes, He may use me to meet a need of someone else. Sometimes, if you’re listening, He may use you. Be ready and willing to give and enter the circle of thanksgiving and giving glory to God!
3 thoughts on “Giving Leads to Being Thankful”
Maybe, in Heaven, we’ll spend eternity sharing our own stories of how God provided, and His tenderloving care for us. 😊
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That would be awesome!
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