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The Thankfulness That Shares

October 13, 2012

It is not enough to thank God for our daily bread. It’s not enough to thank God for being our daily bread. We must thank God by sharing our daily bread with others.

It’s not enough to thank God for gifts, and to thank the Giver, but we are called to ourselves be God’s gifts poured out for each other.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

The word “strive” is the same word that occurs in Jesus’ words in verse 31, where he says, “Don’t strive for – pursue – your own needs. Don’t make them your focus.”

Matthew 6:33 completes the thought: “Don’t do this. But instead strive for – pursue – God’s righteousness. Make this your focus.”

Because we belong to God, we strive for God’s will – we want God’s will to be done. And what is God’s will? That we share.

Another translation of the Greek word rendered “righteousness” is “justice.” In Matthew’s Gospel, seeking the kingdom and seeking justice are not two distinct quests; Matthew wants to say that there is no authentic search for the kingdom except in a quest whose immediate goal is justice.

As the Lord’s Prayer says: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Our Epistle for today, 1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4, says, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone … [to] God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

God has an overabundance of love for all to share.

And so we are called to become bread for the world, broken to share.

This past week, my heart was touched by an example of someone in our midst who is doing this. Lynda Mountford, who not so very long ago was in a wheelchair herself,  approached me about borrowing a wheelchair so that she can push a friend of hers who is now unable to walk due to cancer, and enable her to go outside.

Lynda is living out the truth of the words that we are broken to share. From our deep thankfulness, in our brokenness, we share God’s gifts and are bread for one another.

We live out the words of Janie Alford:

I do not thank Thee, Lord,
That I have bread to eat while others starve;
Nor yet for work to do
While empty hands solicit heaven;
Nor for a body strong
While others flatten beds of pain.
No, not for these do I give thanks!
 
But I am grateful, Lord,
Because my meager loaf I may divide:
For that my busy hands
May move to meet another’s need;
Because my doubled strength
I may expend to steady one who faints.
Yes, for all these do I give thanks!
 
For heart to share, desire to bear
And will to lift,
Flamed into one by deathless Love –
Thanks be to God for this!
Unspeakable! His Gift!

God’s love given to us; God’s love given through us … 
“Most of all, that love has found us, thanks be to God!”

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This is adapted from the conclusion to the homily at our October 7 Services. The homily included a story related by Mark Tidd, which appears in this blog’s October 17, 2011 posting, entitled, “The Beauty of a Sharing Heart.” The quote on the last line is from the hymn was the theme for the day. It is from the last verse of “For the Fruit of All Creation,” which we sang at both Services. There is a video of this hymn in my October 6 posting, “You are Invited to Come and Give Thanks at St. Paul’s Tomorrow.”

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Last year’s Thanksgiving postings can be accessed by clicking on the titles below:

“Thanksgiving Reflections” (October 13, 2011);
“A Thanksgiving Litany” (October 13, 2011);
“Thanksgiving for Harvest and for Farmers” (October 13, 2011); and
“Traditional Gaelic Blessing” (October 17, 2011). 

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