“Who or what are you most thankful for?”
Take a second and think about it. Be honest with your answer. Now say it out loud.
If you didn’t say, “Jesus,” there’s a problem. For thirty-three years of my life, it would never have occurred to me that I should be thankful for Jesus. Oh, I believed in Him. Jesus, Christianity, and church were categories, not meaningful parts of my life. But when I had nowhere else to turn, Jesus was there. He became real to me. He heard my prayers. He forgave me. He encouraged me. I came to realize how much He loved me, providing the unconditional love of a perfect father . . . the love I’d longed for all my life. Jesus became ultimate for me. At the risk of sounding judgmental and self-righteous, I say to anyone who has Him anywhere other than at the top of their list, you’re missing out.
Why? Because Jesus is God. He and the Father are one. He’s been here since forever. He is the Giver and Sustainer of life. Jesus’ greatest gift is forgiveness for our sins . . . of connecting us unholy people to a holy God through His incredible sacrifice on the Cross. He is the only source of life after this life, an eternal life with Him that will be more glorious than we can imagine. Without Him, life after this life is unimaginably awful, an unending existence separated from God. Nobody in their right mind wants that.
Jesus is also the giver of all good gifts. Being thankful for the things He’s given you . . . a great wife, children, a nice house, career success . . . whatever it is, that’s a good thing. A life of gratitude is a life of peace as we recognize that everything we’ve been given came from Him. It’s cool to be grateful for people and stuff but how much more should we be grateful for the Source of those relationships and Provider of that stuff.
Jesus’ presence with us may be the gift we take most for granted. “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” He promises. Even when He answers our prayers in ways different from what we want, He doesn’t cut and run. He’s with us . . . He’s by our side as we weather the storms of life and death. From Eden to Revelation, it’s clear all God ever wanted was to be with us. Who in your life loves you so much they only want to be with you?
His presence is real, but faith is required to experience Him. Jesus told us He would “be with us always, even to the ends of the earth.” He promised that when two or more are gathered, He’ll be there. How many times do we forget? In prayer, we start talking at Him as if He’s on the other end of a long-distance call. All the while, He’s right there in the room . . . listening . . . ready to interact with us, encourage us, and lead us.
Spend some time today considering what Jesus has done for you. Where you could be without Him. Then tell Him how thankful you are for Him. If He’s not already there, move him to number one and make Him ultimate.
Quote: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” –C.S. Lewis
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