Dear Zion church family and friends,
When we think of November, fall harvest and Thanksgiving come readily to mind. And you don’t have to look very far to find people writing about gratitude these days. Many point out that maintaining a grateful attitude is good for our health. Counting our blessings and being thankful for friends, family, and good health, is worth thinking about, especially when the culture surrounding us shifts quickly from Thanksgiving to Black Friday and its emphasis on acquiring things.
Scripture is clear about who deserves our gratitude. In the first chapter of his epistle, James writes, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God deserves our final gratitude... not the universe or the government or our “inner light.” Even the good gifts of other people’s time and generosity point, ultimately, to God. And, of course, God doesn’t owe us any of these good gifts, nor could we ever deserve them. As Paul told the men of Athens at the Areopagus, God “is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”
Paul’s statement might have come as a surprise to Greek ears. In his book, Gratitude: An Intellectual History, Peter Leithart describes how, in the ancient mind, gratitude was like a circle. If you received a gift, you had an obligation to return the favor. For much of the Greek world, this was how politics worked—a system of favors and repayments we today might describe as “bribery.” By introducing the idea of gratitude to a Giver so generous that no one could ever repay their debt, argues Leithart, Christianity radically altered this cycle. Gratitude, it turns out, really can change the world.
Serving Christ with you,