Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Thankfulness, a Must Character Quality

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Have you ever had a pity party for yourself? Has anyone ever not had one? Have you ever felt under-appreciated? Okay, true confessions – although rarely, once in a while, I used to catch this spirit trying to creep up on me. I guess feeling unappreciated hurts the most when we’ve really put our heart into what we’ve given or done for someone and their response ranges from underwhelming to nothing. We live in such a rich society that people take way too much for granted!
A long time ago, this couple told Renee and I a horribly sad story of financial devastation in their life. They said they didn’t have any money to pay their mortgage or bills, they didn’t have money for groceries, and they didn’t know what they were going to do to feed their children. At that time, Renee and I were a young couple with four very small children. Our own finances were so squeaky tight that we could hardly afford what we needed for groceries. But, we took one hundred dollars - almost our entire food budget for the month (at that time) and gave it to them. We'd gave sacrificially and trusted God by faith for our groceries that month. When we gave it to them, they hardly said thanks. The following week we ran into them and they shared that they took their children out to a restaurant to celebrate and it cost almost the entire amount we gave them. They didn’t appreciate what we had done. They didn’t use it wisely. We felt sad and used. Live and learn. God still met our needs supernaturally that month.

When Renee and I moved into our first house, I asked the Lord to help me afford to get a new snow blower and a lawnmower. He helped me obtain both. He then moved on my heart and told me to take care of neighbors that couldn’t take care of themselves. I have done that ever since – for almost 35 years. It’s not uncommon to never hear a word of thanks when I’ve cleaned up someone’s driveway of snow or done their fall cleanup of leaves. But, I’ve always done it unto the Lord. This is how Renee and I live out our life. Sometimes people appreciate your efforts to help them and sometimes they don’t. Sound familiar?

Luke 17:11-19 “As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As He entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God, I'm healed!" He fell face down on the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking Him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?" And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well."

I couldn’t help but think this morning about the multitude of things Jesus had done for me in my life. In some cases I was the one who came back to Him with great thanksgiving and at other times, I'm sure I hardly noticed or acknowledged His goodness and kindness in my life.

Over time, I’ve become convinced of one thing; every day God has touched my life with something I can and should be thankful for. Pity parties are stupid because I do what I do unto the Lord and to look for appreciation will always leave me disappointed. I am better off focusing my heart toward the one who leads me to do what I do for people, and toward Him who does so much for me each and every day. Instead of looking for thanks, I focus my heart on giving it! It helps me keep my heart right, builds the character quality of being a thankful person, and allows God to reward me for what I have done.

Proverbs 19:17 "He who is kind to one in need, joins himself in partnership with the LORD, and the Lord will reward him for what he has done."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt

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