Over the past week we have been walking through ways that we can cultivate thankfulness in our everyday lives. We started off by remembering what God has done for us, proclaiming to others what God is doing and has done and yesterday we discussed how when we live for God our lives demonstrate our thankfulness to him by reflecting God. Today I want to share with you the fourth element in cultivating thanksgiving in our lives each day. This one is very practical and necessary. In fact I have found that when I am struggling the most it is usually because I have neglected this element. Today I want to discuss offerings.
The element of offerings has several different ways that it can be expressed. It can be through service to others, giving of tithes and offerings, giving of our time to help someone else and anything else that you can think of that involves you physically being the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. This element is different from demonstration in that it is a bit more tangible. In the element of demonstration the way we live and how we treat each other can be a demonstration that we are different. In the element of offerings we are being intentional in serving others.
When we remember all that God has done for us we want to share our blessings with those around us. We see this clearly in the life of David. In 1 Chronicles 22, David is working hard collecting items, raising money and making preparations for the building of the temple for God. Even though David was not allowed to build the temple himself he was serving God and the people by making preparations for the building. David wanted to do something tangible for the God who had been blessing him throughout his life.
Paul challenges us to give of ourselves as an act of worship. In Romans 12: we read,
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
Serving those around us is also a way of serving the Lord.
Galatians 5:7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.
Colossians 3:24 Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward, it is the Lord Christ you are serving.
We have been given so much, our lives are not our own any more. Since we have been bought at such a great price we should be pouring our lives out as a drink offering to God in thankfulness of what he has done for us.
Philippians 2:1;3 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? …….Don’t be selfish; don’t life to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.
Our lives are not ours any more. Instead they belong to our Savior who suffered so very much to purchase our salvation.
Living with a thankful heart is something that every Christ-follower is called to do. This way of living should not be taken lightly or limited to just one month out of the year. We have learned by following a path through scripture that God desires our lives to be so rich in thankfulness that it not only impacts who we are, but those around us for generations to come.
Our culture is not characterized by thankful hearts. Instead we are constantly bombarded by entitlement. We are constantly being told, “You should buy, go, do, be something because you deserve it.” The reality is we don’t deserve it. We deserve death because of our sinful condition. Yet we have been given a gift far beyond anything being sold to us.
It isn’t easy fighting against our sinful hearts, but I hope these four elements help you to win more battles than you lose. Let’s move forward work hard to be thankful for all that God has done for us all year long.
If you missed the previous posts you can find them below.
Note: This blogs post references scripture verses taken from the following sources:
1. NIV Life Application Study Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan and Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2011 Print.
2. NLT Bible, Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc; 1996 Print.