Serving the community since 1970

Pastor's Corner: True gratitude is more than words

As a young pastor in a small tribal village in Guatemala, I was always amazed at both the deep faith and the profound generosity of the Kaqchikel people I served. For what seemed to me even the smallest favor, they responded by filling my pantry with baskets filled with handpicked fruits and vegetables or fresh eggs. One dear brother insisted on gifting me with his prize pig, possibly his most valuable possession.

In this month, when we are most likely to focus on being grateful and giving thanks, it reminds me of the great truth that true gratitude almost always expresses itself not just in words, but in actions.

It brings to mind a woman whose life had been profoundly changed by Jesus. Her story is mentioned in three of the four gospels. Her life was a disaster, and her reputation ruined. And the only thing she had to show for all the pain and humiliation she had endured trying to survive was an expensive bottle of perfume. It was no doubt her most valued possession, to be kept safe until she needed to sell it to provide for her in her old age.

Yet because Jesus gave her hope for a new life, she sacrificed everything. She washed his feet with her grateful tears, wiped them with her beautiful hair and then broke the bottle and poured its entire contents over His feet in a vivid expression of gratitude that Jesus Himself said would be remembered and honored throughout history. And so it has been.

May we follow her example, not only in this month of Thanksgiving, but throughout our lives. May we be aware of how very much God has done for each of us, how much we have been forgiven, and let it generate in us a gratitude that expresses itself not just in words of thanks and praise, but in sacrificial actions that show the depth of our appreciation.

As recorded in John 14:15, Jesus challenged His disciples and challenges us to show our love and gratitude not with words, but with actions as He said, [BEGIN ITAL]“If you love me, keep my commands.”[END ITAL] Show Him your gratitude with obedience and express your thanks to those around you with generosity and acts of service.


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