May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Maybe today’s topic is a little cliche, maybe it’s not. What is important is that we get the message. It’s the end of the year and most people are evaluating how their 2022 went, checking for loose ends that need to be tightened, and patting themselves on the back in the areas where they feel fulfilled. But when it’s all said and done, we must still give thanks to whom it belongs. 

Gratitude, according to Google, is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Even when things do not go according to plan, we must recognize God’s kindness in it. 

Google says gratitude is “to return kindness”. There is no way we can return God’s kindness or measure up to what He does for us. What we can do is show how thankful we are in praise, dedication, and by giving back to society. The one who received freely should also give freely (Matt. 10:8)

Showing our appreciation is important. Not because if we don’t it takes anything away from God but because when we do, our blessings are even multiplied. When Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, He passed through a village along the border of Samaria and Galilee where He met with ten leprous men. When those men saw Him, they cried out for mercy and Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the Priest. As they were going, they got healed. Only one of the lepers came to give thanks when he realized he had been healed. When Jesus saw this, He pronounced a blessing of wholeness on the man (Luke 17:11-19)

The difference between healing and wholeness is restoration. The other nine lepers had received their healing as they asked. For the one that came back to say thank you, he received not just healing but also wholeness. In the sense that all the things he lost as a result of that sickness will be restored to him. The incompleteness he had as a result of that sickness was removed totally. His expression of gratitude had brought him even more than he “bargained” for. Many are healed, few are made whole…gratitude is the bridge. 

There is no better way to show your thankfulness than to live a life devoted to God. Going back to that same dangerous lifestyle God saved us from is no way to show that we are thankful for the new life. When we go back to living in sin even after we have experienced the salvation of God, we tell Him that we are uninterested in what He has done. But if we are truly thankful, we would live a more devoted life. 

Yes, it is the Holy Spirit that brings about the desire to live for God (Php. 2:13) but we must also be intentional about our dedication to Him. A Christian who wants to start studying her bible more must not stop at the desire but must be intentional about it by actually picking up that bible. Likewise, we can show our gratitude to God by being more intentional and hence, more devoted to things that concern Him. Paul was so grateful for the salvation he received that He now saw it as imperative that He shares the good news (1 Cor. 9:16). When we meditate on the things God has done for us, devotion would be easier because it would germinate from a place of gratitude. 

Even unbelievers would tell you that they’re so grateful for all they’ve received that they have decided to “give back” to society. We can show our appreciation for all that God has given by giving as well. Scientific studies have even proved that when we are grateful, our brains become more charitable. That is, we respond better to giving when we are grateful. What I can understand from this is that people who find it hard to give are not grateful for what they have. One philosophy Jesus left with the disciples –and by extension, us –is that we have received freely, so we must give freely (Matt. 10:8)

People who feel they have obtained everything they have by their own efforts and wit are less likely to give, as they are not grateful to anybody. But as believers, we know we owe gratitude to God because we know that except the Lord build a house, they labor in vain those that build it (Psalm 127:1). We know that every help we have received comes from the God of all help –which translates to God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). We know that every single thing we have is from God Almighty. Therefore, if we truly believe this, then we must express our gratitude for what we have received by being liberal givers. 

Our God and Father is a cheerful giver. He gave us Jesus without holding back. If truly we are just like Him, then we must learn to give as well. 

In a few hours, it would be a new year. As you review your resolutions or goals for the year, don’t forget to include gratitude on that list. Express your gratitude to God for all He has done by giving and doing so liberally, increasing your dedication to Him, and actually expressing your thankfulness through words and praises to Him. 

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;  Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Happy New year! May your 2023 be filled with reasons for you to be thankful, in Jesus’ name. Amen 

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