“I’m incredibly blessed and thankful.”
These words, or some similar assortment of words, are ones we will hear often this week. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we suddenly take time to think more deeply about what we’re thankful for and how blessed we are in life.
We certainly aren’t coming from a selfish or conceited heart when we speak of what we have to be thankful for this year. But when we thank God for our blessings this Thursday, do we actually grasp what our blessings are?
What we have or what we give?
Normally, we talk about the things we have when we talk about how blessed we are in life. Family. Health. A home. A dream job. Yes, these are gifts to thank God for, but are these circumstances the only reason we would call ourselves blessed? And if they are, does that mean the poor, homeless and fatherless are not blessed?
The Old Testament brings up the concept of blessings on many occasions. These blessings often tie into physical, earthly prosperity. However, most of these blessings refer to the nation of Israel as a whole should they choose to obey God.
When we look at the New Testament, we find blessings spoken of in the context of our relationship with God. Jesus said blessed are those who hear His words and obey them (Luke 11:28). He also called blessed those in not-so-fortunate situations while He spoke on the mountain to the large crowd gathered. What did all these blessings have in common? Relationship and satisfaction in God.
What if how blessed we are in life has more to do with what we give than what we have? What if God blessing us is actually a way for us to give back to Him?
Think of it this way: When you see someone whose life contains the bare minimum of earthly possessions, yet they serve God with joy and give their time and money for Him, do you think of their lives as blessed? Despite their physical exhaustion and limited resources, they exude contentment and satisfaction. They help those in need with whatever they have to offer. They desire God passionately.
What’s different about that life? They don’t simply say, “I’m thankful for these blessings.” They say, “I’m thankful for what God has given me, and I’m going to give it back to Him.”
God’s redemptive process
Understanding how blessed we are in life does not mean we must give away all we own. It means we look to God and ask Him how He desires us to use the blessings He has given us. It means drawing closer to Him as we realize all we have doesn’t actually belong to us.
We will begin to understand God’s redemptive process more clearly as we choose to view our blessings as what we can give instead of what we have. As we use our resources — our “blessings” — to help those in need, to volunteer time at ministries, to dive deeper into pointing our spouse, children or siblings toward Christ, we will see God make something beautiful out of it all.
And there, we will truly be blessed.
If we hold onto what God has given us, how will we glorify Him? We must not close our fingers around perfect gifts from above, or we will lose out on deepening our understanding of our Heavenly Father. We will miss out on drawing nearer to God as He shows us His redemptive process. A process that molds us and sanctifies us each time we choose to give back instead of selfishly hoard.
This Thanksgiving, as you go around the table of family and friends and explain what you are thankful for, don’t merely state a person or life situation that falls into your category of blessings. Explain how God blesses you as you delight in Him and hold all things loosely, knowing the greatest blessing this side of heaven is stepping into God’s redemptive process and allowing Him to use you.
Let’s Talk About It: How are you blessed? How do you give those blessings back to God?
PSA: Enjoy your time off this Thursday as you spend time with family and friends! We will too, so we’ll see you in a week when our next article is published!