Posted in Christianity, Faith, Love

Giving thanks through thankful giving


What seems like just a simple play on words could actually be a fundamental shift in one’s life. Giving thanks can be done without much effort. Some of us have said the same prayer over a meal so many times that it has become more of a mantra than a communication with God. There are also daily situations in which we say “thanks” with as much thought as we give to the standard “hello,” or “how are you doing”–not expecting or even listening to the responses we actually get, which are usually equally perfunctory or non-existent.
But just making the attempt to really mean what we say when we give thanks just doesn’t seem like enough in a world where so many bad things happen. If we have the guts to turn on the news, we are bombarded by images of war or protests or economic hardship. The tent cities that most of us have only read about in textbook sections on the Depression have sprung up in our own backyards, haunting reminders of what we too might become but for the grace of God.
If we give of ourselves thankfully, as God intended, we give with intention and love, not to rid ourselves of guilt over having too much, but because we truly care about others and are happy that we have been put in a position where we can be of help.
“No good deed goes unpunished” gives thankful giving a bad name. Even if I suffer a bit because I choose to help, I will never truly suffer if I approach all that I do with the thankfulness of my ability to give that I should have.
As a recovering over-achiever, I find just now that writing about this concept helps me realize that when I think that I am failing just because I haven’t made myself a “big wig” in the present world, driven by capitalism, I should instead be thankful for the opportunities I have had to use the talents God has given me to share and hopefully help others, even if those others count only in a handful, not a multitude. Remember the parable where the shepherd leaves the safe flock to save the one lost sheep? When I am not thankful for what I am able to give–forget about what I achieve from the “real world’s” point of view–I do a disservice to myself and, more importantly, to the gifts that God has given me to share with others, not hoard. I thank Him most when I give away what I have been given, not just bow my head and say “thanks.”
I hope my actions during this holiday season can be those of thankful giving, especially when I am tempted to become too tired or too busy to think about others. And I hope I can give the gift to myself of being thankful for what I am able to do each day instead of getting discouraged or bored with what is required or needed from me.

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Author:

I am a 40-something Texan with a feisty cat and a supportive husband of 20 years. With a Master's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, I have taught creative writing at Texas Tech, won awards for my writing and been blessed to be mentored by Horn Professor and poet Dr. Walt McDonald. I earn a living by helping my husband's family run a health food store, but my avocation is writing. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my triumphs and tragedies as I continue to work on figuring out what life is all about and on growing my ability to share my writing. May your own journey be a blessed one.

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