How Good of God
November 25, 2016
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
A few years ago I received an anonymous card that instructed me to go to a nearby bicycle shop to pick up a gift. It felt a little strange, but I followed the instructions and went to the shop. Fortunately, the man knew what I was talking about, and he instructed me to wait and told me that he would be right back. In a few minutes, he brought out a beautiful new road bike. It was far nicer than any bike I had ever owned. I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. I also didn’t know whom to thank, so I tried to get the man to give me a hint of who had purchased the bike. He wasn’t willing to share that with me, so I headed home with this amazing gift. As I headed home with this new bicycle, I had an interesting mixture of thoughts and emotions. I was genuinely and deeply moved and blessed by this extravagant gift. I was also profoundly thankful. But I didn’t know whom to thank. I very much wanted to know who had given me this gift so that I could thank the person and try to express how grateful I really was for the gift. But because I didn’t know whom to thank, the experience felt incomplete. It felt like the loop of the experience wasn’t closed so the experience felt like something was missing; it was incomplete. Have you ever had that feeling? Perhaps you received an anonymous gift of some kind and because you weren’t able to express thanks, you felt a sense of the experience being incomplete. Or you stepped out on a spectacularly beautiful autumn day and you walked around and saw the beauty of nature and something inside wanted to acknowledge it, but maybe you didn’t know whom to thank. I think our culture feels the need to close the loop regularly, but they don’t have someone to thank or don’t know whom to thank. So, people thank “the universe” or “Mother Nature,” or they may thank “the gods,” but deep down they don’t mean an actual God who exists. There is a yearning to thank, but they don’t know whom to thank. For those of us who are Christians, we can complete the experience or close the loop on these gifts that we receive, both big and small. This Thanksgiving and every day, we don’t just have to “thank” vaguely or just in general, but we have a personal God to thank. We have a God who gives gifts. A personal God who loves to gift good gifts to His children. And our God can be known and thanked, and in that we grow closer in our relationship with Him. We see in the Bible a picture of a God who gives countless good gifts. The Bible is filled with encouragement for God’s people to give thanks to God. This is good and right and wise. And so we give thanks simply because it is the right response. But God also calls us to give thanks because He knows what is best for us, and He wants what is good for us. Giving thanks to God is good for our souls, it is good for us, it is freeing to us, and it completes the experience. C.S. Lewis helpfully says it this way: “Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations, are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.” In giving thanks, we look at the sunbeam that warms us, but we don’t thank the sunbeam. We follow it back up to the sun, and we say, “How good of God to give me this!” The psalmist encourages us along those lines in Psalm 92:1-4:
We should notice that he says “It is good…” It is right and godly for us to give thanks, and it is good. It is good for our own souls to give thanks to the giver of gifts. This week, we have the opportunity to slow down and give thanks. How might you carve out some time to consider God’s gifts and give thanks? Perhaps consider “How good of God to give me this…” Give thanks as a means of glorifying God and also for the good of your own soul.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
Curtis Cook is the Pastor of Hope Fellowship Church in Cambridge, MA.]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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