International Bible Givers

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From the Chairman

IBG Chairman Chuck Hayes

Lives of Gratitude

I heard a great sermon on Gratitude just after Thanksgiving (thanks Randy Ahlberg) which seem poignant to share in this rushed, frenzied Christmas season.

The text was Luke 17, where Christ heals 10 lepers, and yet just one of the ten came back to thank Jesus personally for what he did. Ten were healed, and it is not hard to believe that each one of them felt great relief and were certainly thankful for Jesus gesture, yet only one returned to express it. I am certainly thankful for much of what God has given me, but how often am I one of the 9, not returning to overtly express my gratitude?

Upon examination, there is much going on in the text. Note that they were healed on their way to be examined by the priest. These people had faith! They believed in Jesus power to heal and didn’t wait to see the healing before heading off. Yet when Jesus asked where the other nine were, he inkles that He had an expectation met by only the one. As Jesus dismisses the one, he commands him to “rise up and go your way, your faith has made you well” (ESV). The Greek verb would be “has saved you”. There is something more relationally here. The one got something more than the 9. It’s more than just feeling thankful. It an emotive response that compels us to cry out and acknowledge God for who HE is and what He has done. It’s worship, and it is meant to flow freely from us as we go about our lives. And in that worship, like the one, we find deep relationship with Christ.

Consider Colossians 2:7: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving”. (ESV) The text does not simply say “giving thanks”. It says ABOUNDING. I think that involves a bit more intentionality than a meek, “hey, thanks Jesus”.

Or Psalm 69:30: “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with Thanksgiving”. There is that worshipful gratitude, that emotive response that comes from deep inside us.

This sense of pouring out gratitude is also linked to our mission to be a light in this dark world. Consider 2 Corinthians 9: 10-15. God supplies us to overflowing so we can overflow into the lives of others, resulting in their recognition of God and their expression of overflowing gratitude. Abounding gratitude multiplies.

In this season when we mark the act of a Savior breaking into history to mend the gap between man and God, how can you move from being thankful to being overwhelmed with gratitude? How can your gratitude spill over to those around you and point them to the God of the universe? I’m grateful for your involvement in this life giving ministry. Thank you GOD! Be blessed to overflowing this Christmas!

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