In millions of homes throughout America families and friends join together to celebrate a cherished holiday, Thanksgiving. In countless homes people go through various types of rituals and traditions including taking time to share what they’re thankful for. If we listen to those often hastily prepared statements we’ll find the vast majority of them refer to what’s been received.

“I’m thankful for my family.” “I’m thankful for health.” “I’m thankful for peace, prosperity, safety, security, a home, a car, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, etc.”

It’s good to give thanks for all we’ve received. It’s even better to give thanks for the Giver and to recognize that it’s all a gift.

The greatest gift of all is Jesus. God gave Him to us as our Savior. It’s through His stripes we are healed. It’s through Him making Himself poor that we became rich. And it’s through the indwelling Spirit of God that we have access to the wisdom of the ages. And that wisdom teaches us that it’s better to give than receive.

So this Thanksgiving as we share what we’re thankful for perhaps we should be thankful for all the opportunities we have to give. The Word of God tells us plainly, “If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.” In another place it says, “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way.”

All around us, a world in need of God stumbles through the inky void of uncertainty, not knowing why bad things happen to good people, why the evil seems to triumph over the good, or where they’re going when they die. And we have the answer. His name is Jesus.  

So how do we share what isn’t just good news but the best news ever with the lost and broken around us?

It isn’t by trying to shove a Bible down their throat. It isn’t by beating them up with doctrines they don’t know repeated in religious speak. It isn’t by trying to scare them to death with stories of what will happen when they die. When we use these time-tested mistakes while trying to share the most beautiful truth in the world, that Jesus came to bring us life, our success rate is perfectly expressed by my favorite band, Casting Crowns, “Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see. The world is on their way to You, but they’re tripping over me.”

It’s not about who we are, it’s about who He is. It isn’t about what we’ve done, it’s about what He did. And it isn’t about what we get, it’s about what we give.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face shine upon you. As we gather with our loved ones on a day set aside for giving thanks instead of offering a litany of what we’ve received let’s give thanks for opportunities to give.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @  © 2019 Contact Dr. Owens   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens