Thursday, November 22, 2012
At this time of year when we're all encouraged to stop and make a list of all that we're thankful for, I'd like to suggest we ask ourselves, "Who is thankful for me?"
As great as it is to cultivate our gratitude for all the blessings we've received from God and others, I think it's also very important to do our part to be a blessing so that others might stop and be thankful to God for our acts of kindness and compassion.
The way we live our lives matters to God, and it matters to others. This is why Jesus says that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love others as we love ourselves. In fact, he says that these two commands are alike. That means that loving God and loving others are related actions.
"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen,cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." (1 John 4:20-21)
So, our mission is to be a blessing, not to be blessed. Our calling is to behave as ambassadors of God's love to everyone we meet, so that they might glorify God and develop a strong desire to know Him more and to love as we do.
The only way this will work is if we practice being a blessing to others every day of our lives, not just one day a year. It's also something we're expected to do even if we don't appear to be getting the intended results. Even if our kindness and compassion aren't reciprocated, we're still expected to continue in love, because that's what our Lord would do.
For those who hate us, we're still expected to love them, and serve them, and to pray for them. Of course, that's where it really starts to get difficult, but we continue to love in spite of opposition because we know something that they don't know: Love has the power to heal and transform. How do we know this? Because we have been transformed by God's love. We have been healed by His love. And we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that perfect love casts out fear, and love never fails.
This Thanksgiving, my prayer is that, by the grace of God, I will be a person who loves others and serves others, because my Lord did this for me, and because I was made to love and serve others. Because I've experienced the transforming power of God's love first hand, and honestly, I really want to see it happen again to as many people as possible before I see Him face to face.
Happy Thanksgiving. Now go and be the kind of person that others would be thankful for.