Gratitude and Generosity
in the Real World
The immediacy of need in our times can overwhelm the soul, if we fail to pay attention to God at work in our midst to refresh us, to build us up and strengthen our spirits. This season of stewardship is reminding me of the cost of doing God’s will, and the importance of our faithfulness in all areas of Christian discipleship. The saying is old, but true about more than just our money – it’s not “equal gifts, but equal sacrifice” that makes the difference. Giving makes the difference in effective ministry, yes, and it makes a difference by helping each disciple grow spiritually in faith and trust. It helps us respond to God’s generosity, as well.
I got a lesson in gratitude and generosity from Jack, a two-year-old boy, one Saturday morning, long ago. Angie and I had sponsored a weekend retreat for physicians, health care professionals, and their families to lovely DeGray Lake in Arkansas. Perhaps due to the effects of the long drive the day before, or the quiet and cool of the Ouachita Mountains, young Jack was up much too early. Jack’s dad, being a thoughtful guy, decided to take Jack and head for early coffee and breakfast, without disturbing Jack’s mom from her sleep.
Sitting in the grand dining room and visiting next to its wall-sized glass window, Jack and his dad enjoyed each other’s company in the predawn darkness.
Then it happened. It was an event of biblical magnificence and importance.
“What’s that?” Jack asked.
“That’s the sunrise,” answered his dad.
“Does it happen every day?”
Yes, that’s where I would like to be – not the mountains, but in living with such fresh eyes to see God’s world and to revel in the gifted beauty of God’s creation. Would that we all could cherish with innocence and intensity the gifts of God in relationship with nature and, more, with each other. God is the Giver of all good gifts, thanks be to God.
Will the sun rise again, Jack? Count on it. Trust it. Believe it. Thank God. Every single day for the rest of your life. The God who neither “slumbers nor sleeps,” who never gets tired, who never gets weary, who is more dependable and worthy of our lives than the most sublime sunrise will make it so.
Grace and peace,