Micah – Week Three
Some families sat around the table this past Thursday and expressed what they were thankful for.
A survey was done two years ago around Thanksgiving. I don’t know how many people were questioned, but their responses as to what they are most thankful for are fairly common, I would think.
“84% say they are thankful for their family. (T)hankful for health (69%), friends (63%) and memories (63%). Around half point to personal freedom (53%) and stability (47%). More than 2 in 5 are thankful for fun experiences (45%) and opportunities (42%). A third of Americans will spend Thanksgiving being grateful for their achievements (33%), while 1 in 5 (21%) express thankfulness for their wealth.”
“When Americans give thanks on the last Thursday of November, most say they express their gratitude toward their family and God.
Around 2 in 3 say they typically give thanks to family (68%) and God (67%), while 42% say they are grateful to their friends.
Fewer say they are thankful to themselves (16%) and fate (10%). Even fewer say they don’t give thanks (4%).”[i]
I was thinking about the holidays this week and how this time of the year changes our way of thinking. We are more generous and more thoughtful. We look to help families that don’t have as much. We are inclined to do more, give more, and love more because it really is the most wonderful time of the year for most.
I love the stories of the Secret Santas. The people who randomly hand out cash to strangers or those who pay off layaways for others. These Secret Santas do these acts of kindness anonymously and the recipients are blessed and don’t know whom to thank. Maybe you or someone you know has benefitted from random acts of kindness and you can identify with the warmness and overall good feeling you get when you’re on the receiving end. It kind of makes you want to pass it along even though you don’t always know whom to thank for giving you that feeling.
Well, let me tell you a little secret. God is never an anonymous giver to those who know Him.
James 1:17 GNT “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God”
What that means for us is that everything for which we are thankful came from God. Whether it’s our family, our friends, our health, our stability, our personal freedom, our memories, our experiences, our achievements, or our opportunities, all good things come from God.
Do you have someone in your life that’s a generous person? One who doesn’t think twice about blessing others? Someone who is always thinking of other people and ways to make people feel special? Years ago, I had a friend who literally would send me a thank you note if I sent her a thank you note. It was impossible to thank her enough for any sweet gesture. I wonder if we realize how impossible it is to thank God enough for, well, everything.
That old hymn “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, Jr. has a phrase in it.
“Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
I can’t help but wonder if it’s possible to ever run out of things to thank God for. How appreciative are we of His blessings? And just like God is not an anonymous giver, our thankfulness or lack of thankfulness is never a mystery to God. This seems to be happening a lot more frequently now, at least in my experience. I’ll send a wedding gift or a graduation gift, and I’ll never receive a thank you card. It’s not so much that I want to be thanked, but I would like to be sure that the person received the gift. There are some who believe that thank you cards are a thing of the past, but I think that’s a bit sad to never thank someone for blessing you.
Luke 17:11 ICB “11 Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Traveling from Galilee to Samaria, 12 he came into a small town. Ten men met him there. These men did not come close to Jesus, because they all had a harmful skin disease. 13 But they called to him, “Jesus! Master! Please help us!”
14 When Jesus saw the men, he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
While the ten men were going, they were healed. 15 When one of them saw that he was healed, he went back to Jesus. He praised God in a loud voice. 16 Then he bowed down at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. (This man was a Samaritan.) 17 Jesus asked, “Ten men were healed; where are the other nine? 18 Is this Samaritan the only one who came back to thank God?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go on your way. You were healed because you believed.”
I was reminded of this story this week and couldn’t help but cringe to think of how many times I’ve been like one of the nine. Running off, failing to thank God for helping me. And to think of Him watching me take for granted ALL that He does for me. What could I ever do to thank Him enough?
Micah ponders this.
“You say, “What can I bring with me
when I come before the Lord?
What can I bring
when I bow before God on high?
Should I come before the Lord with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with 1,000 male sheep?
Will he be pleased with 10,000 rivers of oil?
Should I give my first child for the evil I have done?
Should I give my very own child for my sin?”
8 The Lord has told you what is good.
He has told you what he wants from you:
Do what is right to other people.
Love being kind to others.
And live humbly, trusting your God.” (Micah 6:6 ICB)
As we’ve discussed countless times over the past couple of months, we’re sinful, arrogant, disobedient, unfaithful, and disappointing children of God – just like the Israelites were. But somehow, God still sees fit to watch over us, provide for us, weave the circumstances in our lives for our good, forgive us, and love unconditionally throughout it all. How thankful we should be! And what does He want in return? To love being kind to others, to do what’s right, to live humbly, and trust Him.
“It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy” -Author unknown