Generous Thanksgiving

photo-1445865303228-f3c2d519aa97Alie and I are preparing to host Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever. Since we were married, we have traditionally spent Thanksgiving Day at my parents house in Western New York, and Thanksgiving weekend at Alie’s parents in Canton, Ohio. We spent a lot of time in the car, but it was worth it to see our family and friends.

This year, things will be a different. We have new jobs and schedules, and so making the long commute just wasn’t going to work. My parents decided to come to us this year, and so we are going to have our own Thanksgiving dinner here in New Knoxville.

The change in our usual Thanksgiving routine forced me to look at the holiday from a different perspective. I never had to worry about grocery shopping or planning a meal, much less actually cooking the food. There is a lot more work that goes into Thanksgiving when you host as opposed to just showing up at your parents house. In a way, I had been taking it for granted all those years.

We typically take time at Thanksgiving to express our gratitude and thankfulness. The name says it all, really. It is important to recognize the blessings in our life and express our thanks for them. We may even take the time to thank God for giving us the strength and grace to endure the difficult moments from the previous year.

But have you ever thought about how you could be a blessing for someone else? As we wrapped up our study on Philippians this Sunday, I was reminded that we as Christians are called to be generous people. When we find our true contentment in Christ, it frees us to be generous to others. When we freely give from our resources, whether our time, energy, or money, we become a blessing to someone else.

Read what Paul has to say about the connection between generosity and thanksgiving:

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:10-15

When we are generous, it gives others the opportunity to be thankful. So how can you be a blessing to someone else this year? What is a practical step you can take to help another person?

As you gather around the Thanksgiving table this year, I encourage you to do two things: Be thankful for all that God provided for you this year. Be a blessing to someone else. In doing so, it will give them a reason to be thankful!

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