Summary: thanksGIVING is an action word! it shows what is really going on in your heart! Are you more than the sum of your appetites?
Did you ever see “Sesame Street”? There are only a little over 4,000 episodes broadcast thus far. Remember the muppet animal characters: Big Bird, Snuffleupagus, Oscar, the grouch, Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster? While Big Bird was big, feathery, and comforting, Oscar was small, unkept, and irritating. Snuffleupagus finds his place just because he is big; Elmo finds his place because he is little and cute. Grover lets his imagination run wild while Cookie Monster lets his appetite run wild. Cookie Monster’s motto is something like this: see cookie, want cookie, eat cookie! Many Americans are like Cookie Monster, just a collection of our appetites!
Some one has said that there are only two types of people in the world: GIVERS and TAKERS. Which type are you? While we are told in the Scripture,…
“…It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
…do we smile more at the reception of a gift or when we can give something to someone else?
When a young woman’s mother’s office got a fax machine, the daughter suggested sending their correspondence by fax instead of using the post office. Although she told her many times that it’s a faster and less expensive way to communicate, her mother continued to send her mail by weekly letters. On the girls birthday, however, her mother showed that she now has a full grasp of the technology. She faxed her a $100 bill with the note: "Happy Birthday. Darling. You’re right-it is cheaper to fax than to mail. Love, Mom."
This thing called, “thanksGIVING” cannot be passive, anymore than love can be passive! Action must take place so that the recipient KNOWS that you LOVE them. No, “thanksGIVING” is an ACTION word.
How would we ever know how much God loved us if He had not given His Son?
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
GIVING shows what is really going on in your HEART. You can say you love something but until you put your time, your talents, and your treasure there, no one is ever really quite sure. The arena of giving is the only place where exactly what’s going on in your heart is revealed.
People serve MONEY the way they serve GOD. Why? Because money transfers to its owner certain godlike features. For example, God is omnipotent (all-powerful), but those who possess lots of cash feel omnipotent, as though they can do anything they want. God is omnipresent, but wealth also carries a hint of omnipresence, because the wealthy believe they can go anywhere, anytime. God alone is omniscient (all-knowing), but those who have a lot come to believe they can find out whatever they want.
GIVING reduces GREED. You insult greed, the impulse to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves, by giving. One of the richest men to ever live, John D. Rockefeller Jr., said: "The poorest person I know is the one who has nothing but money."
15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
GIVING eradicates FEAR. When you give, you defy the fear that you won’t have enough. If you really believe God owns it all and that he is your source and provider, giving will be a simple matter. Contrariwise, if you believe that what you have is yours and you’re unsure whether God had anything to do with getting it to you, you will hold on to your money for dear life.
GIVING removes us from the SEAT OF THE CONSUMER and places us onto the STAGE OF THE SERVANT.
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27 He answered: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.