Thanksgiving Manifests Itself in Generosity

Thanksgiving Manifests Itself in Generosity

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LET US GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD

I give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. Psalm 9:1

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”  And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”And He said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”   But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,  and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’  Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”  Luke 10: 25-37

 

Good morning Prayer Team!

There are some feelings of states of being that are personal, internal, and don’t necessarily have to affect anyone else.  For instance, if you feel hot or cold or tired, these do not call you to any kind of action towards others—you may put on a jacket or take off a jacket or take a nap to relieve these feelings and that’s where the action ends.

If one feels thankful, this feeling must manifest itself in some action.  If one is thankful, but sedentary, meaning that he just sits on this feeling and does nothing, then he isn’t thankful at all.  For thankfulness manifests itself in generosity.

Look at these two statements:

Because I feel cold, I will put on a jacket.  This statement of feeling is completed by doing something for oneself.

Because I feel thankful, I will___________.  Look at this statement, it can only be completed by writing down something that benefits someone else.  You can’t complete this sentence with Because I feel thankful with I will overeat, or I will watch TV all day, or I will go shopping.  The feeling of thanks “requires” action towards another person.

Today’s story of the Good Samaritan is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible.  Three people encounter a Jewish man on the road who has been beaten by robbers and left for dead.  The first two men, a priest and a Levite, are Jews from his own temple who should have been the first to help him.  Instead they pass by on the other side.

The man who runs to his aid is a Samaritan, a sworn enemy of the Jews.  This man has compassion, and also a grateful heart.  He generously shares his time—for he stays not only all day with the man, but stays the night with him at an inn to take care of him.  He generously shares his donkey, as he puts the man on it to go to the inn and walks next to him.  And he generously shares his money, for when he leaves the next day to continue his journey, he provides the means for the man’s continued healing.

He has gratitude that he has time, that he has a donkey and that he has some money in his pocket and his gratitude motivates him to share.  To have and to not share is greed.  To have and to share is gratitude.  Thanksgiving manifests itself in generosity, and generosity is giving without expecting anything in return.  It is a willingness not only to help a neighbor or a friend but even an enemy.

Lord, help me to see the things I have as blessings from You.  Kindle in me a desire to serve, to be generous, and to help—the friend, the stranger and even my enemy.  Amen.

Make a generous gesture to a stranger today!

 

+Fr. Stavros

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About author
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Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0