The Connection between Thanks and Giving

It’s time to celebrate my favorite holiday again! And what better way to celebrate than to share some thoughts on the subject of gratitude. I love Thanksgiving for a plethora of reasons. Perhaps the most notable is the permission this holiday gives everyone to express gratitude. In an entitled culture, in a society of demands and expectations, a day set aside to be truly grateful is noteworthy.

Beyond that is the connection between that thankfulness and what comes next—The Season of Giving. Thanks and Giving. One holiday follows the other. First we are thankful, then we are generous. Our calendars may not have been developed to affirm this reality, but the succession of holidays does, in fact, picture the reality that generosity follows in the wake of thankfulness.

So what causes this connection? Perhaps the most obvious cause is the very nature of thankfulness. A person is grateful for what he receives, what he did nothing for, what he could not obtain himself. When I express thankfulness, I acknowledge something being given to me from outside of myself. I realize I am not self-sustaining. I acknowledge neediness or at least longing being filled by someone else. And in acknowledging that, I also begin to recognize ways in which my connection with others provides avenues for me to give to them.

A thankful heart becomes a generous heart. We receive, and we want to give. Jesus gave his life for us; we want to give that good news to others. The little boy on the Galilean hillside gave his lunch to the disciples. Jesus took that lunch and gave thanks for it. Then he passed the blessing forward feeding thousands of people.

I have so much to be thankful for. Time will not allow for a complete recording of even this year’s blessings. So I will modify,  simply sharing five gifts for which I’m thankful, and how these gifts open up doors of opportunity for me to give. Because thankfulness is the impetus for giving.

1. My team of content writers for the Scripture checking guide. Because they give of their time and wisdom, I have been able to share this tool with translators all over the world this year, helping to check the quality of Scripture in nearly a dozen languages.
2. My family’s love and support. Because I know my husband loves the Lord and his work in the world, and because I know he is invested in building God’s kingdom with me, I have slept more than 100 days this year in a bed not my own. My husband and children have given me the freedom to go into all the world and because of that I can give translators in other cultures the tools and training they need to get God’s Word into their language.
3. My extended family’s love and care. My parents, siblings and in-laws uphold me in prayer on each of my trips, while providing generous support in other areas as well. On a recent trip to Nigeria when I faced specific spiritual battles my family fought those battles with me on their knees. They gave of themselves and their time. And I was able to give the team I was working with the love, support and encouragement they needed to work through various challenges in their translation project.
4. God’s financial gifts for our family. God provided an unexpected bonus for me this year and we were able to share some of that surprise financial benefit with friends.
5. Airline miles for all my travels. Since I have been given so many opportunities to travel I have a pile of airline miles! So many, in fact, that I’ve been able to share them with others to make it possible for my family and friends to visit one another and spend time together.

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