Grace, Gratitude, and Generosity

Intentionally placing beauty, and crafting life art amidst difficult days shows faith that says, “We can see that God is still with us.”

Bringing gratitude by sowing faithful acts of generosity shows courage that says, “I believe this is a place of worship. I choose to celebrate God’s goodness. I will wait to see His lovingkindness.” Sally Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

Sweeping, captivating tales of real men and women of courage who lived for God’s glory in this world have always inspired my heart. I want to believe in modern-day miracles. I want to hold fast to stories of those who took risks to worship God, people who lived courageously and held fast against great odds, trusting in His goodness and His promises even in times of great trial. I hope to be one who celebrates His reality every day, through life-giving acts of grace.

Our culture promotes self-centeredness, an obsession with the most trivial of daily distractions, and a dislike for anything transcendent. Society has lost its way and become diminished in the face of consumerism, materialism, and hedonism.

The scary thing is I am just as easily ensnared by those things as anyone else. I seek out great stories because I need the reminder that it is within my grasp to be holy, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God (see Micah 6:8).

The early American settlement at Plymouth was the setting for such a tale. A small, dwindling group of seemingly frail individuals, invisible to the world at large, struggled to survive through disease, storms, and starvation. And yet even after only a small remnant of the original community remained, they still chose to worship and thank their creator God for His lovingkindness and mercy and provision. Feasts reflecting their gratitude have been a testimony of their hope through three hundred years.

These seemingly insignificant people were not invisible to God.

Their tale has lived on to inspire generations to live a life of faith.

They yearned to live intentional lives, engaging their hearts in practicing gratitude; they were devoted to joy, to celebrating the reality of God. The legacy of the Pilgrims is their testimony to the power of thankfulness and gratitude to transform any life. God took a small community’s faithful acts of worship and turned their struggle and perseverance into an eternal work.

In our own time, the dominant culture teaches us that we should get what we want. Modern technology provides for any and every need we could have, and if we aren’t able to receive something quickly, we are indignant. Instead of gratitude, there is dissatisfaction; instead of thankfulness, there is entitlement.

And despite all the advantages that modern society provides, we still live in a time of great turmoil. Erosion of morality, economic pressures, the breakup of marriages, tragedies and disasters—no matter how advanced our world becomes, we will still always fall short of our desires. The brokenness of the world will always be here, but so will God’s grace. Gratitude is empowering; it recognizes that the world may be difficult, but there is something greater than the world, and to that truth it will cling with all its might. Ultimately, we are blessed beyond measure to know the risen Christ, to have confidence that our future is secure with Him for all eternity. Cultivating beauty amidst the fragile moments of life, creating hope amidst the turmoil of days is faith  proclaiming our confidence in His unseen reality. Someday, when we are with Him face-to-face, we will celebrate the greatest feast of all time. But now is our opportunity to celebrate our own now-but-not-yet feast of gratitude, to shout forth the light of God’s presence into a dying world. Our thanksgiving recognizes the eternity present in the here and now; it is an act of radical faith that has the power to restart dying spiritual hearts. Just like those at Plymouth, we are called to be faithful and to give thanks and trust that God can still use the acts of faithful people to turn the world upside down.

And despite all the advantages that modern society provides, we still live in a time of great turmoil. Erosion of morality, economic pressures, the breakup of marriages, tragedies and disasters—no matter how advanced our world becomes, we will still always fall short of our desires.

The brokenness of the world will always be here, but so will God’s grace. Gratitude is empowering; it recognizes that the world may be difficult, but there is something greater than the world, and to that truth it will cling with all its might. Ultimately, we are blessed beyond measure to know the risen Christ, to have confidence that our future is secure with Him for all eternity.

Cultivating beauty amidst the fragile moments of life, creating hope amidst the turmoil of days is faith  proclaiming our confidence in His unseen reality.

Someday, when we are with Him face-to-face, we will celebrate the greatest feast of all time. But now is our opportunity to celebrate our own now-but-not-yet feast of gratitude, to shout forth the light of God’s presence into a dying world. Our thanksgiving recognizes the eternity present in the here and now; it is an act of radical faith that has the power to restart dying spiritual hearts.

Just like those at Plymouth, we are called to be faithful and to give thanks and trust that God can still use the acts of faithful people to turn the world upside down.