This could get interesting — I’m working on two different writing series as well as blogging my Wednesday night lesson questions here on Tom’s Treasure. 🙂 This “Giving THANKS” series will follow a sermon series that I am preaching on Sunday evenings at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
God gave me the framework for this sermon series on the drive to work a couple of weeks ago and now He is giving me the opportunity to preach it! Paul writes in second Thessalonians 4:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We are never told to be thankful for all circumstances, but we are told to be thankful in all circumstances. As we approach a season of Thanksgiving followed by the Christmas holiday, many people turn to thoughts of thankfulness and giving. This series will give you some great tips on being thankful and some great gift ideas as you give thanks not only to God, but also to the people in your life!
We begin the series by looking at giving thanks by giving time. We can give thanks to God, and to people, by giving of our time. I know, there are some readers that may believe that is not possible — they don’t have any time to give. Unfortunately, that’s not true — we all have the same amount of time each day. How we fill it and how much we make available for God and the people around us may be variable and we may not feel we have as much control over it as we like, but the time we start with is the same. So, how do we give time?
We start by giving the time of today! The writer of Hebrews tell us to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” The longer we put off giving thanks and doing the things God has called us to do, the more likely we won’t ever do them. Procrastination leads to a hardness of heart and convinces us that there is always tomorrow. The best way, and only sure way, of giving time to God or anyone is to give them time today.
Secondly, we need to give time intentionally. James says that “anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” That statement should be an incredible incentive to be intentional about giving of our time to God and to the people He calls us to share with. One of the main reasons that we don’t give the time of today is that we don’t make plans to do so. I believe that James would say that “good intentions” are grossly misnamed because there is nothing good about unkept intentions. If we’re going to give thanks by giving time, we must be intentional about doing so or it will likely never get done.
We also give time by giving moments. Paul instructs us to “be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Often in our giving to God, and to people, we become convinced that they measure value by size or quantity rather than by the heart. We pass up opportunities to give moments because we don’t put enough value on them and consider them unimportant. While today is all we live in, it can also be narrowed down to all we really live in is the moment. I’m not saying there is no place for planning, but don’t get so focused on a time yet to come that you miss the opportunity of the moment. When we give thanks by giving time, we must give value to the moment.
The ultimate giving of time is the giving of eternity! Not that eternity is ours to give — particularly to God, but we can share with people the way of eternal life through Jesus Christ and we can commit to maintaining our journey with Jesus as we live eternally with, and for, Him. There is no better way to spend our time, and give our time, than to share with someone how Jesus has changed our life and given us the assured hope of eternity with Him. We give thanks when we give our time sharing with someone the opportunity they have to experience eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I pray that you and I are living lives that give thanks! I pray that our thanks is expressed as we give time through our giving Today, Intentionally, Moments, and Eternity!