A life of faith is a life of gratitude – it means life in which I am willing
to experience my complete dependence upon God and to praise
and thank God unceasingly for the gift of being.
True spiritual gratitude embraces all of our past, the good
as well as the bad events, the joyful as well as the sorrowful.
From the place where we stand, everything that took place took us
to this place, and we want to remember all of it as part of God’s guidance.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996) Priest, Professor, Theologian, Writer
Sunday, November 12th will conclude four weeks of emphasis on “thanksgiving,” the theme of our 2017 fall stewardship experience. On that day, designated as Thanksgiving Sunday, you will have the opportunity to offer your estimates of giving to First Lutheran, as we focus on all that God has done and continues to do for us.
Shouldn’t we just be able to remember to give a portion of our blessings to God without a fall stewardship emphasis? Yes, you might say, that’s who we are as God’s people, people who share blessings. But, we need that nudge, that reminder, and encouragement to do so, because we live in a world that is always tempting us to think of ourselves first. And, if we’re truthful, it’s not just someone else tempting us, it is the reality that we die to sin each day, to our own desires and selfishness and greed. It is only through Christ that we rise again to new life; that we are made whole; that we have the opportunity to serve and make a difference in the world.
The invitation to share our time, our gifts and our money reminds us that we do not live to ourselves. In Holy Baptism we receive the commission written in Matthew 5:16 –“Let your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” We are called to a life of praise and thanksgiving for all that we receive and are. We respond to God’s abundance by living generous lives.
Generosity is tangible. It is intentional. It is visible. When someone blesses you with kindness, you don’t have to second guess what you have received. It is there right before you.
So, as we consider thanksgiving in our own lives, as we consider what it means to be a generous people who share God’s blessings joyfully, intentionally, and visibly – may the Holy Spirit call, guide, and empower us to respond with praise and thanksgiving. May the gratitude of our hearts be in full display. And let our light shine. Powerfully. Radiantly. Generously.