Every year on Thanksgiving I sit at a table with family and close friends and we declare things we are thankful for. I think this is a terrific exercise and we should incorporate more of this into our daily lives! I am thankful for my family, for my home, for my education, that I have regular meals, etc. Most of the things I am thankful for could come out of the mouth of any person, but what makes me different as a follower of Christ?
I often forget that this life I live is not my own. On Sunday, Rob taught about our resources not being our own. What is given to us is not our own. Not only this, but we are also to rejoice in our weakness! We know that as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12: 9,10, “But, he (Jesus) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This passage is a convicting one for me. I have a peaceful life, a loving family, and more than I could ever ask for. I am certainly grateful for these things, but some of you are not in that position at all. Some of you are suffering something that often feels too difficult to bear. Know this, that Jesus’ power is made perfect in your weakness. It is not easy to thank God when you are facing times of trouble.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs Is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:3-11
You see, there is nothing wrong with being grateful for the gifts we have been given, but know this, that not everyone around you has the same gifts. What we all have is the capacity to show compassion, to demonstrate Christ to each and every person we come in contact with. In the age of social media, we have never been more aware of how good the lives of others seem to be, and many people feel a deep sense of longing for a life that is as good as yours or mine looks like on social media.
We know that Jesus is extending his kingdom as we speak, and the important thing to note here is that Jesus uses us wherever we are at and, of those who have been given much, much is asked. For anyone reading this who feels like you have nothing to give, Jesus is made perfect in your weakness. You also play a vital role in building his kingdom.
So, walk humbly and speak love and life during this season. The holiday season starting with Thanksgiving and on through Christmas can be some of the most depressing times for those who are alone or live in a broken home, so share the love of Jesus and remember that Jesus can use anyone in any circumstance to show his love.