The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work… Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 15
Meister Eckhart, the German theologian and mystic, wrote: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Gratitude is the expression of thankfulness. It is a mindful, intentional appreciation for the gifts that we have been given. Gratitude is a way of focusing on the abundance in our lives, a practice that cultivates a greater capacity for generosity, cheerfulness, and contentment. Gratitude is living with open hands and open hearts.
St. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, knew the power of gratitude. He reminds us of the ultimate gift – the gift of eternal life given to us through Jesus Christ. What, in our lives, can compare with that? Such a gift is truly indescribable. St. Paul reminds us that the motivation for all we do ought to be grounded in gratitude for what God has done for us.
This passage is powerful because it invites us to see ourselves as conduits of blessing in response to God’s gifts. God does not give us merely to meet our own needs but so that we may overflow with generosity. We receive in order to give. In that giving, God is glorified. When we give of our time, talent, and treasure, we are sharing in and supporting the good work of God’s people for God’s glory.
I am grateful for the good work that this community of faith does. I am grateful for the palpable joy that is present every time we gather. I am grateful for the servants who give time and talent to facilitate worship every week. I am grateful for the many hands that feed the homeless and those struggling with losing their loved ones. I am grateful for the dedication of our admin team who give of their time and talent every week to make sure we function properly. I am grateful for the time and energy put into Cursillo, as the teams bring a new awakening of the experience of God. I am grateful for the many hours the Vestry gives to lead us, and for the financial acumen of our finance team. I am grateful for all those who organize wonderful fellowship opportunities. I am grateful for those who teach our children and adults the tenets of our faith. I am grateful for those in our community who pray. I am grateful for the immense generosity of this community. I am grateful to have been called to walk this next part of our spiritual journeys together.
As you all know, our stewardship theme this year is “engaging God in gratitude.” As we put our eggs in God’s basket, as we write down the blessings we are grateful for in our material lives and our spiritual lives, I hope that you are all taking the time to dwell in moments of gratitude. I hope you are taking intentional time to say that prayer of thank you, for all that God has done and continues to do for you. May we recognize the rich blessings that God has given us, and may we offer to God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for the indescribable gift of love that has drawn us all together in Christ’s Body. May we sow that love bountifully, living with open hands and open hearts.