Recently, I was sitting in the back row of church. I noticed in the pew directly across from me an elementary school girl loudly belting out the worship songs, so loudly that people in the front pew of the church turned around to see who it was.
This little girl, less than half her father’s height, was loud. She could be heard clearly over the many people singing on stage with microphones–and speakers!
It’s November, and many in our culture now turn their attention to fine-tuning their Christmas wish lists. We, as Christ’s followers, should do exactly as that little large-voiced girl did: belt out our praise, gratitude, and thankfulness for all that God has done for us.
It’s All Good!
Why should you loudly laud God? (see what I did there?)
Well, the first reason is, simply put: it’s all good. What I mean by that is that it’s not only a good thing to do, because no one likes to be around someone who’s a negative-pessimistic-complainer; but it’s also a good thing to do because it’s a good thing for you, when you do it! I’m not going to bore you with the buckets and buckets of the research that all the egg-heads have done over the years—and continue to do. But it might shock you to know that people who are, as a daily practice thankful, are not just generally happier people, but they make more money, are, incredibly, physically healthier, and live longer lives! Don’t take my word for it; go check out this incredible research yourself!
The second reason why do we have to shout, you ask?
The answer is simply that culture already shouts at us, drowning out the real reason for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday); many who thank God on that day for all He’s done, and all they have, will celebrate it by going out early the next day to get some more.
I’m not going to share the requisite Bible verses about being grateful, nor will I attempt to give you a guilt trip. No, I’m going to challenge you. I challenge you to turn your gratitude into concrete action, action that benefits someone other than you and your family. Start today; take some time each day, not only to thank God for all He’s done for you that day, but write it down, then share it with others—not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.
“You Got Served!”
More importantly, I challenge you to show your thankfulness to God by serving others. Find some way to let another person know today, “you got served!” (but in a good way). Serve others — and not just during this time of year; serve all year long! And I don’t just mean in the local church you attend (that’s something every Christian should already be doing).
The service I’m talking about is, of course, evangelistic. The most popular female writer of the time, Ellen White, had this to say about serving others: “Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. . . . Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. . . . Christ commits to His followers an individual work—a work that cannot be done by proxy. . . . Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 147).
As Christians, our goal is to be more like Jesus. He showed His love for God by serving others, even at His own expense. He told His disciples: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28, NLT).
Conversion x 3
There’s nothing wrong with getting together with those you know and love and chowing down—if it’s not overdone. But that’s not all there is to this wonderful holiday. Martin Luther, that great catalyst of the Reformation, put it best when he wrote more than 500 years ago: “There are three conversions: the conversion of the heart, mind, and purse.”
Then let others know that you believe it, and that the belief—no, the conviction—that began in your heart and mind has migrated to your wallet, purse, hands, and feet.
This Thanksgiving —today— shout at the top of your lungs how good God has been to you. I hope you have the joyful experience of knowing the conversion of all three.