Have you ever considered that a thankful heart produces a good-news-communicating life? We are coming to the month of November. In this month, Americans celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. For some, this may be the only time of the year where they actually stop to consider giving thanks to someone for the things they are thankful for. Many would likely roll their eyes if the message in this article were simply saying that everyone should be more thankful throughout the year. Thankfully, that is not what this article is going to discuss.
The message of the gospel of Christ inherently produces thankfulness in those who have received the message. Here’s why. The message of Christ shouts to one’s soul that he has value. He has value because he is both created and loved by God. A person stands with this value not because of some ability or self-empowerment. Rather, as the Scriptures point out, mankind is broken and sinful at the core. The hearts are wicked and deceptive, the thoughts are regularly evil, and there are none who are righteous. God considered mankind lovable because He poured out His love on all people.
To those who have believed and received the message that God loves them in spite of their filth and inability to reach God’s standard of perfection, to these He granted life, eternal life. God granted the gift of eternal life to undeserving people. When someone begins to wrap his mind and heart around how colossal a gift that is, he cannot help but be a thankful person. To possess something that could never be earned, achieved, or attained remains a wonderful mystery.
Think about how shocking a situation it was when a known, sinful woman discovered where Jesus was eating a meal, went to Him, stood behind Him, and wiped His feet with her hair while she cried and kissed Jesus’ feet. One Pharisee saw and thought in his mind judgmental thoughts belittling Jesus for not knowing what kind of woman was touching Him. Jesus, knowing what the man was thinking, asked him a question. Who would love more? Would a person forgiven of a great debt or a person forgiven a very small debt love more? The Pharisee rightfully answered that the one forgiven much would love more (story found in Luke 7:36-50).
Jesus was pointing out that this woman realized who Jesus was, and she responded to Him with thankful adoration. He instructs this Pharisee by expressing that this woman had been forgiven much. As a result, she could not help but love much! Thankfulness is born out of a heart that has been loved much because it too has been forgiven.
In the same way that someone loves much who has been forgiven much, so also one will be a witness of Jesus through their words, actions, and lifestyle who has been forgiven by God. Those who have tasted the joy and freedom of Christ Jesus know true thankfulness. Thankfulness that is born out receiving something completely undeserved will motivate people, even unknowingly, to share that hope with others. The gift that is proclaimed in the good news is intended for anyone who will receive it.
Anyone who is a Christ-follower who has received the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus can live out sharing the gospel from a thankful heart. Sometimes, because of the distractions of the American culture, true Christ-followers lose their way. They do not remain attached to the vine. May Christ-followers not be lulled into a sleep so as to miss the incredible grace of God. If a person finds himself lacking a thankful heart, perhaps it would be a good idea to go back to the simple message of good news about the gift of life that was offered.
So as we come to yet another November with plans to celebrate another Thanksgiving Holiday, let us live out our thankfulness to Christ. Being thankful may take on many different looks, but may the lost and dying in this world see Christ-followers around them, and may they be made aware of the gospel as a result of the thankfulness displayed by those who have been loved and forgiven of much.