“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” — Proverbs 3:27
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it blesses, inspires and motivates me — it's the act of giving thanks away. Although words are used to give thanks, the feelings associated with gratitude are almost indescribable. There isn’t much effort involved, but the act brings an extravagant outpouring of thankfulness. The secret of thanksgiving is always in the giving because gratitude isn’t a feeling. It’s an action. When we express gratitude, the power of blessing is released.
Last week, I got a voice message from one of our veteran FCA leaders, Drew, who I have known for years as he has served faithfully in New Jersey. This year, he accepted a new role as a director in Virginia. When I returned his call, it happened! As I heard his words, I experienced an extravagant outpouring of thankfulness to God, Drew and Wendy. I bet you are asking, “What did he say and who is Wendy?”
The power of thanksgiving is in the action.
While Drew was working with a local high school FCA Huddle and trying to resolve some issues with the student-leadership team, he was growing concerned about some problems that were arising. That’s when Wendy, a mother of one of the student-leaders, called to encourage him and say she and her daughter were committed to help. Wendy told Drew that 30 years ago while she was at Hylton High School, a school in another part of Virginia, her parents were getting a divorce and she was struggling. She told Drew FCA had just started at Hylton and her involvement in the ministry saved her life.
When Drew called to share this story with me, tears were welling up in my eyes because I was the local staff person who helped start the Huddle on her campus. I remembered Wendy, she was one of our student-leaders who helped impact her campus for Christ. Drew said, “I just had to call and say thank you. I am benefiting from your ministry 30 years ago and I am so grateful.”
Drew and I spent another 20 minutes on the phone in what I’d call a “God-moment.” Memories, feelings and emotions from three decades ago were being unearthed in me. We spent several minutes praying together, thanking and worshipping the Lord for His goodness. We thanked God for Wendy and asked Him to use her daughter’s Huddle in the same way He used the Hylton Huddle in Wendy’s life.
As I said, the giving away of thanks doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it blesses, inspires and motivates me. I’m now fired up for another 30 years of ministry! What if Wendy would have never expressed her thanks to Drew and shared how God used FCA in her life. Imagine if Drew wouldn’t have made the extra effort to call me and thank me for something I did 30 years ago. The power of thanksgiving is always in the giving. When we give thanks away and don’t hold it, we release the blessings of God. God shows up in these moments. God showed up when Wendy thanked Drew. And God showed up when Drew thanked me.
When we express our thanks, the blessing of God is released.
If we have an attitude of thanksgiving but never express it, others can interpret it as ingratitude. Sometimes this can even be viewed as arrogance or ignorance! The power of saying thanks is a simple thing, but it can be hard to do. Unfortunately, very few people put into daily practice the power of thanksgiving, but the ones that do experience blessing, wonder and joy.
I am so thankful that Drew put thanksgiving into action and that he was willing to give his thanks away. When we give thanks away, we will experience 10 powerful characteristics.
The Power of Giving Thanks Away:
- Thanksgiving is second-mile.
- Thanksgiving is unexpected.
- Thanksgiving is bighearted.
- Thanksgiving is extravagant.
- Thanksgiving is sacrificial.
- Thanksgiving is radical.
- Thanksgiving is caring.
- Thanksgiving is others-first.
- Thanksgiving is overflowing.
- Thanksgiving is generous.
I am thankful that Drew lived out Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” No more withholding blessing and thanksgiving from those that deserve it. What are you waiting for? This Thanksgiving make sure you tell others how grateful you are for them. Thanksgiving is powerful, but remember, the power is in the action. Give thanks away!
Lord God, I desire to be someone who not only prays for those I am thankful for, but also someone who takes action and tells them. Help me to pray it, show it and then say it. Show me ways to give thanks away and not hold onto it. There is so much I am thankful for. Fill me up, Father, so that I can overflow with thanksgiving. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.