The most precious things in life are free. However, human beings, who do not pay a dime to God to get the free things, have learned to sell them to each other!
Think of your intelligence that has qualified you to complete university studies. Wthout it, you would be unable to think or progress in life. Think of the air we breathe. You take approximately 23,000 breaths every day, but when did you last thank God for one of them?
Consider the ground on which we walk, run, place things and drive on 24 hours a day. It comes with no price tag. What if you were charged for it?
Your body is the most precious material you will ever have. It cannot be exchanged with money, gold or silver. When it is healthy, you use it with abandon. Its members allow you to work, walk, talk and do much more. In fact, all activities are null and void without the body. When tired, we are happy to sleep but what do you give to earn sleep? Nothing!
Yet we actually give no thought to the priceless sleep, until it eludes us.
There are people who love and care for you, though you do not deserve their love. They have paid for your education. Many married people do not merit commitment from their spouses, and yet they are loved. Some sow obnoxiousness, but reap love.
When Jesus healed the ten lepers, only one of them returned to thank Him? Charles Brown suggested possible reasons for this: One waited to see if the cure was real. Another waited to see if it would last.
Yet another said he would see Jesus later. One decided that he never had leprosy in the first place. The fifth said he would have gotten well anyway. The sixth gave the glory to the priests. The seventh said, “Oh well! Jesus didn’t really do anything.” And the eighth said, “Any rabbi could have done it.” And the ninth said, “I was already much improved.” When all is fine, we are unmindful of the Hand that runs the world and supplies us with all we need. Then when there is pain or trouble, we complain.
CS Lewis called pain, “God’s megaphone”! It comes infrequently but it gets our attention more sharply than a trouble-free life. Isaiah identifies lack of memory as the principal cause of ingratitude. So the Bible repeatedly says, “Remember,” or, “Remember and do not forget”.
A thankful heart remembers that when we have deserved wrath, the LORD has instead given us mercy and compassion, completely unsolicited and unearned. The Lord makes rain (read blessings) fall on the good and the evil.
The Bible calls it GRACE: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. The wronged God forgives without demanding any price. The labours of my hands cannot fulfill His laws’ demands.
What do you remember? If you are graduating, do you see the gifts of God’s love that have brought you this far? Since “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” we have only because He has given us.
When we thank God, we grow our trust in Him. Thanking God looks back and acknowledges His hand in our lives. We trust God for the future because of His faithfulness and help in the past.
Finally, thanksgiving and trust are public acts. A secret faith is a dying faith. Private thanksgiving and trust eventually fizzle out. Isaiah says: “Give thanks … call upon His Name … make known … proclaim … sing praises let this be made known … shout and sing for joy ….” Similarly, the Psalmist says, “I will give thanks among the people.” They know that giving thanks to God gains traction when
we do it with others. Thanksgiving is our testimony of what God has done. It is our boast about our God. Then others also learn to thank Him, which builds their trust in Him. Thanksgiving is infectious! Above all, thank God for the miracle of the Cross of Jesus. At Calvary, Jesus paid the highest price for the least deserving. So salvation is a gift we do not deserve. As a popular hymn writer said, “Count your blessings, and it will surprise you what the LORD has done.”