Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thank You, God

Scripture reveals an amazing thing about grace: God provides for everyone. Jesus makes that point when he challenged people to pray for their enemies: "[God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45)." On his way to Jerusalem, once, Jesus cleansed ten lepers after telling them "go and show yourselves to the priests." Only a Samaritan came back to say "thanks," but all ten were made clean nonetheless.

God provides for everyone. I like the way Martin Luther puts it: God creates us and sustains us. "God has given me and still preserves my body and soul..." God is also the provider of all that we need: "God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property - along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life." Thank you God.

That's right... THANK YOU, GOD!

Why say thank you? God provides, regardless of our gratitude. It's that way for humans and it's that way for creation. Surly the flowers and the bird are provided for without the requirement of gratitude. So, why say thank you? The story of Jesus cleansing those ten people of their leprosy gives us some insight. "One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him... Then [Jesus] said to him, 'Get up and go on your way; your faith as made you well (Luke 17:15-16, 19).'"

Christ cleanses all of them in this story, but only one discovers a faith that leads to wellness... a wholeness and wellness found in gratitude. Now, he will be able to go forth in freedom, empowered to live in Christ. Now, he will be free from the despair that leads so many to forget that God always makes available the things that are needed. It is a tragedy every time people forget that.

God's abundance is always available. We need Thanksgiving to remind us of what is real: God sustains us and provides for us. We need prayers of thankfulness and praise to plug us into the kingdom of abundance of which we are a part. When we say thank you, we open ourselves to the power that makes us well and sets us free.

God provides. The wicked and the righteous will continue to be blessed. Birds will continue to find water. Flowers will continue to receive nutrients from the ground. But Christ came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. Through our gratitude, thanks and praise we plug into a living faith that transforms us from existing to thriving.

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