Give Thanks! Christ Gave His Life to Save Yours! - November Observer Message

What if? One day you are walking down the sidewalk in town. You are half daydreaming, half paying attention to crossing the street, when suddenly zooming down the street comes a truck straight for you. You are seconds away from being run over. Tick! You freeze as your eyes bulge to see the huge truck barreling right toward you. Tick! You quickly gasp a breath of air. Tick! You yell a loud scream. Tick! Your body tenses for the blow. Tick! You close your eyes. It feels like your arm is being ripped from your body. Varruumm! You’re flat on the ground with a close-up view of the blacktop. But, you hear sounds. You’re in pain but you are still breathing, rapidly. You sit up. You’re alive! Someone jerked you by the arm out of the path of the ticking death machine to the ground, and saved your life. A round of applause goes up from the people on the street.

How do you feel? Shocked? Relieved? Happy to be alive? And what about that person that saved you? What are you going to do for him? Give him a hug and a “thank you?” Take him out for lunch? Don’t you want to do more, but what? “I owe my life to you, so whatever you want, it’s yours.”

The Bible says to us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:6,8). What an amazing save! I was doomed to eternal suffering in hell with no chance of escape because of my sin. But Jesus jerked me (and you too) from an awful death and gave me new life. He died on the cross of Calvary to pay the ransom price for the souls of all people. Even as His enemies, as sinful human beings, as ignorant, ungodly people, Jesus loved us, each of us, by giving His life to save ours. The hope of eternal life in heaven is ours through Jesus. The relief of being forgiven of all our sin and punishment is tremendous. The happiness that will never stop is worth a response on our part. What are you going to give Jesus in return? Tell Him thanks? Take someone out to lunch? Don’t you want to do more, but what?

We owe Jesus our life. So why is it so hard to tell Him thanks?

Why is it so hard to say to Jesus, “Whatever You want, it’s Yours”?

Don’t we trust Him? He died for us. Do we forget that He saved us? Our sinful nature (and for sure the devil too) wants us to do both: don’t trust God; forget about Jesus saving your life. Instead of saying thanks we become selfish and greedy. We use excuses like, “This is the only time I get to....” We fill in our own weekly excuse. Is this any way for us to say thank you? No!

What does God want us to do? Our offerings are an opportunity to give thanks to the Lord by giving back to Him a portion of the blessings we have received from Him. They are a wonderful opportunity to say, “Thank you for saving my life!” Before we buy groceries or luxuries, a lawn mower or cosmetics, a house or a doghouse, a car or a computer, we are to decide what share of what God has given to us we will return to the Lord. “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income,” (1 Corinthians 16:2).

Our giving is directly related to God’s giving to us. It is returning a percentage by faith, in thanksgiving. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have,” (2 Cor. 8:12). We have God’s promises to provide for all of our needs. We demonstrate our trust in those promises by dedicating ourselves to His work in a manner which challenges our faith to grow. “But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving,” (2 Cor. 8:7).

Giving for the Lord’s work is an expression of our faith, love and gratitude. Generous giving speaks volumes about our God and what He has done for us. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God,” (2 Cor. 9:6-11).

That’s what we can do for Jesus who saved our life — give offerings of thanksgiving to God. Indeed, THANKSGIVING for us as Christian believers is year-round and not just on one day in November with turkey and dressing. And make our offerings regular (tick!), weekly (even in the summer) (tick!), cream of the crop (not leftovers) (tick!), planned and proportionate (tick!), with real trust in God in your heart (tick!), and generously. It is time for us to be thankful to God. And ask God to help us make an amazing thank you for such an amazing save — our eternal life in heaven.

Pastor Rodney Warnecke