“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11-12, NRSV).
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving Day is almost here. Next week we will lead our community for the 22nd year in serving dinner to hundreds of people in our area who might otherwise be without. Families from all over will come together to prepare and serve these meals to other families who will know the love of God because of what this mission provides each year. This is still one of the most impressive ministries I have ever seen in a local church and I am so proud that our church is the driving force behind it. My colleagues around the state are always amazed to hear about what you do every November and they want to know more about it.
The context of Paul’s message above is his praise for the generosity of the church at Corinth for their faithful giving. The generosity shown through the important mission we do at Thanksgiving should “overflow with many thanksgivings to God.”
I have noticed how so many people volunteer their time on Thanksgiving morning to prepare, package, and deliver these meals – many working together as families to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Linda and I have been part of this project for several years. What I notice about us I can only assume is also true of the other families who volunteer. The work that day seems less like work and more like a privilege. It is an incredible opportunity to give of yourself to the people of God and it is a chance to realize the great blessings that fill your life. The result for us has always been an “overflow with many thanksgivings to God.”
I do not know yet if we will be able to participate this year; it depends on how Linda is feeling after her chemo treatment just before Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, we are reminded everyday of how thankful we are. During this season that could be difficult, the people of this church, our friends and family, and colleagues across the state have reminded us over and over of how God provides. We are so thankful for your love, your prayers, the food, your time, your care and attention, for so much that we “overflow with many thanksgivings to God.”
I pray that each one of you will spend time this Thanksgiving reflecting on how God has blessed you. No matter what you may be going through right now, you have much to be thankful for. As you serve this season, in big and small ways, remember that your service, your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God through your service. God told Abraham, “I will bless you and you will be a blessing to others” (Genesis 12:2). Thank you for being a blessing to so many, including us.