March 25, 2023

God is the source of every good gift


God has given us everything good to enjoy; sunshine and showers to bring flowers and gardens and crops, soil rich in natural fertilizers, animals and plants for food and clothing, sources of energy, including rain to make things grow, minerals to make the soil fertile, and sources of energy for industry and mobility, skill to invent and create, relationships to cherish, wisdom for life — everything is from Him. We ought to be thankful for it all.

I know a handful of people that seldom, if ever, say thank you. They are never content, nothing satisfies them. It’s obvious that those who will not thank others for anything will never thank God either. Their lack of gratitude is scary and a slippery slope:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . . (Romans 1:18–22)

Parents usually need to teach gratitude to their children. Immaturity is ‘I want what I want when I want it’ and entirely self-centered. Many a child grows up expecting and even demanding that all their needs and wants are met, not thinking of what it costs the sources to supply those things.

Translate that to the gospel. I, a sinner deserves nothing from the holy God who created me. He could have turned His back but instead He sent His Son to die for my sin. That is the cost. Ignoring it or saying I don’t need Jesus is unthinkable, yet that happens and those who turn their backs on God’s offer put themselves on a slippery slope simply by refusing His good gifts and not being thankful.

He reminds me often that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) Yes, there are times when God varies in how He deals with me, and times when His face seems in a shadow and I do not understand what He is doing or what He wants, yet this is not because God has changed. He is always trustworthy and the “same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) In other words, I cannot always figure Him out yet He is consistent in His being and His character. That is a huge reason to be thankful.

Besides that, “Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4–5) This means that whatever God brings into my life, I can say thanks and pray, setting it apart as from Him using His Word to guide me. Some things, like temptation and evil thoughts, are not from Him. Sickness, plans, and attitudes can be measured in prayer also. If they are from God, He will reveal it; otherwise, He will remove it.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

Good things are there for the asking. Not that I’m to ask selfishly and for my indulgence. Fame, fortune, popularity, and a host of other things may seem good, but God is not my cosmic ‘good fairy’ who waves a magic wand and makes me healthy, wealthy and powerful. His definition of good is not like that of the world.

Jesus, You tell me to “give thanks in all circumstances” for this is Your will for me. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) This is not about the circumstances but about gratitude, about turning my focus from every situation, good or not so good, to the One who is in charge of my life. It is about realizing that You have reasons for those circumstances. You even tell me to rejoice in trials for You use them to build patience and faith in my life, part of the “all things” that You use to transform me. Instead of resisting unwanted circumstances, being thankful makes me open to the transformation and other good things that You have in mind. For all this, I am thankful!

CONSIDER: I used to write every night in a ‘thankful journal’ but stopped that habit. It would be wise to get back into that way of daily reminding myself of the goodness of God.