With Thanksgiving upon us, I have settled into a spirit of gratitude and reflection. In my quiet time this morning, I journaled a list of every thing in my life for which I am thankful.
Truly, the list could have gone on for days. Of course, I am thankful for my home that I share with my two beautiful children and my loving husband.
I am grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my girls and the new venture our family is about to embrace as my husband takes the leap into full-time self-employment next month.
I’m thankful for the cars we drive. The food we eat. The clothes we wear.
I don’t take lightly the ability to walk, run, speak, hear, see or even think.
I’m eternally grateful for the love and salvation I have in my Lord Jesus Christ, which I could never earn or deserve.
No one’s life is perfect. In the last year alone, we’ve faced health challenges, parenting struggles, iPhone addiction, and a house that didn’t sell. But no matter what the situation, there is always a reason to be thankful.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
By the end of the exercise, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I gave thanks to the Lord for the blessings in my life, and all I could think was this is more than enough.
From the overflow of my gratitude, I long to be more intentional with my resources and more giving to those around me.
But what does that look like? For some, it may be as simple as writing a check to a charity or even buying groceries for someone in need.
While we aim to be good stewards of our finances, the “overflow” is certainly not coming from my bank account at this point in time. Money may be tighter than ever, but we can still find ways to give of our other resources.
I felt the Lord nudging me about that other currency. The one that I tend to be more stingy with. The one that I so often squirrel away and save up for myself and my family and my purposes. What am I referring to? Time.
As an introvert, I tend to be overprotective of my time. But just as we trust God to take our tithe and multiply it for his kingdom, I believe he does the same when we choose to invest our time in others.
Taking time out of my day to serve others may be a small investment on my part, but it can have a far greater impact than I realize. As I look to the next few weeks and purpose to open my calendar, I am praying that the Lord will show me areas where I can be more generous with my time.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
The other way that I am planning to give of my abundance is through my material excess. I’m not referring to the unwanted piles of junk that get tossed out, but the items that are in good condition and someone can actually use. Instead of donating these to Goodwill for someone to purchase later or selling locally myself, I can find ways to bless individuals directly.
I’ve done this in the past and it was always more rewarding to give something of value away than it would have been to sell it. To fill someone else up with gratitude. To be the answer to someone’s prayer during their time of need. To trust in God’s provision for our own lives as we provide for someone else.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
-2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
-Luke 6:38 (NIV)
What are you holding onto for someday that you could bless someone else with today? An expectant mother would be elated to receive those boxes of maternity clothes you may not need again. The dad that lost his job and is desperately trying to figure out how to provide Christmas for his family — he would love that guitar you haven’t played in years for his son.
As we gather around the table with our families this Thanksgiving, it is my prayer that we not only count the blessings we have, but also the ways in which we can be a blessing to others.