“Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?'” (Luke 17:17 ESV)
Some Christians, whilst reflecting on Genesis 1:27 of God making man “in His own image”, inadvertently limit their understanding of the physical dimension of it all. However, this shouldn’t be the case. We don’t necessarily know from this that God has two ears, two eyes, etc; but rather, it would serve us well to ponder on the spiritual and the emotional similarities between our unique Creator (SeeRom 11:33-36) and His most unique creation, humankind.
Imagine a person thanklessly going his own way after we have gone out of our way to help Him. It would break our hearts. Likewise, with our emotionally similar Creator when we take His blessings for granted.
A discerning Bible reader would be able to detect Jesus’ voice getting slightly choked with sadness in the afore-referred Scripture when the nine lepers repay his healing with ingratitude.
A spiritually healthy Christian is one who constantly renews His gratitude for God by meditating often on all the benefits the good Lord had graciously bestowed upon him, not the least of which being his Salvation. In so doing, his love for his Creator is also constantly renewed. The greater the gratitude, the greater the love (SeeLuke 7:47). The greater the love, the greater the obedience; the greater the obedience, the greater the sacrificial witness; the greater the sacrificial witness, the greater the impact on the viewing public!
Let’s look back at Scripture for a moment:
“…and a considerable number of those who had engaged in occult practices threw their scrolls in a pile and burned them in public. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, it came to fifty thousand drachmas. Thus the message about the Lord continued in a powerful way to grow in influence.” (Acts 19:19-20 CJB)
” In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground.” (Gen 4:3 ESV)
An amazing aspect of the trait of thanksgiving, is that it is rooted in us from birth. Now let’s hit the rewind button and visit the times of Cain and Abel. Let’s recall that the Apostle Paul’s instruction about being thankful at all times, as enshrined inI Thess 5:18, had not yet been given. In fact, even the Mosaic Law, with its regulation to observe three annual thanksgiving festivals (Exo 34:22-24) was yet to be given at that time. Yet what do we see? The two siblings bringing their thanksgiving offerings to the Lord because the attribute of saying thanks was inherent in them! The key decisive, introspective question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we exercising this innate trait for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)?
“…and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering…” (Gen 4:4 ESV)
Now for a lesson within a lesson! What was right about Abel’s offerings that the Lord accepted it (read ranked it as “approved”), and what was wrong with Cain’s offerings that the good Lord rejected it? There are a few interpretations and theories pertaining to why this was the case, but one we’ll be examining was about the person giving the offering–or should I say the heart towards the Lord of the person giving the offering.
I invite you to look closely at Genesis 4:4: “And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering.” We see that it is the person involved that is mentioned before the offering. More than the offering, a person’s heart condition matters to God. While we give thank offerings, like a considerable sum to church ministry or an evangelistic institution, are our priorities right? Are we giving our thank offering wholeheartedly? Or only as a matter of ritualistic routine? Remember: “Each one must give…not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7 ESV)! An offering such as the one of Cain (See Gen. 4:7a) was detected as a half-hearted endeavor and was not acceptable to the Lord.
Shouldn’t we, then, especially on Thanksgiving, freely and cheerfully give back to the Lord?
Prayer: Father, empower us to cleanse our hearts at all times and come to Thee with a proper heart of thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name, amen
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Thanksgiving…ALL the Way!” mini-series, please click here.)