Word of the Month

Showing gratitude

April 2009

The beginnings of the church of Christ were very humble, but out of it developed a worldwide church. This achievement cannot be ascribed to a few believing individuals, but came about thanks to the goodness and grace of God. Luke writes that the congregation developed from a few disciples, both men and women, into a steadily growing congregation—all owing to the activity of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2: 42-47). The Lord Jesus once told His disciples: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (cf. John15: 16).  This means that everything emanates from Him! This was not only how it was at that time, but is still the case today. Without His blessing and without His help, we could do nothing. But with His blessing and help everything is possible.

A special day of blessing, for instance, is Confirmation, when young sisters and brothers vow to remain faithful to God, and He responds by blessing them.

How do we show our gratitude for all this?” It is all very well to say: “Thank you, Lord.” But is it enough?

Parents teach their children to be thankful, and they are indeed happy when children express their gratitude. But parents will often also say: “Well, if you are so grateful, why don’t you show me!” Thankfulness is best demonstrated by our conduct. Let us do the same where God is concerned, and let us demonstrate by our conduct that we are grateful.

We can do this by offering and bringing sacrifices. Those who are truly thankful to the Lord will also bring their offerings. I am not only thinking about monetary offerings here, which we gladly bring to the Lord, but also the sacrifice of our time.

Those who are grateful will engage their gifts in the work of God. They will help along and not simply stand at the sidelines. They will do their part to create an environment in the congregation in which all feel comfortable and at ease. Those who are grateful will also profess this outwardly. They will speak of all the good things the Lord has done for them: that He has led and guided them and that they have experienced many miracles of His grace. In general however, people have a different attitude: they often talk about negative things, or about the faults of the one or the other. Often they even complain about their circumstances. But all this will do nothing to change these situations. How beautiful it is on the other hand when people talk about their gratefulness! Let us therefore be thankful to the Lord with all our hearts and also demonstrate our gratitude.

(From a service by the Chief Apostle)