2 Corinthians 9:11-12, 14 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.
Thanksgiving is all about us setting down at the table and sharing our bread with one another. It is a blessing to invite or be invited to someone’s home for thanksgiving to share a meal with people who care about you. All the Thanksgivings I remember as a child involve a house overflowing with love and food. Whether that house was the little wooden house with a rickety screen door at Papa’s house or that little pink house out in the country where my grandmother Gloria prepared a feast or my Aunt Marylyn’s house in Antioch with a spread rivaling any restaurant; our thanksgivings were always filled with love. Thanksgiving is really a picture of how we should approach life. It’s about sharing our bread with people we care about and the overflow of love that results from sharing what we have.
There should be Thanks in our giving. We should make up our minds ahead of time what we are going to give God. When we share a meal each person invited makes up their mind what they are going to bring to the table. Even if you can’t cook you make some kind of contribution like cranberry sauce. When we come to the Lord’s house it’s no different. We are invited to the table to share what God’s grace has provided. He’s given us seed and bread.
The seed represents the income that God gives us to sow into good ground so that we can reap a harvest to feed others and ourselves. The seed only works if you sow it. The seed only works if you put it in good ground. When you come around the table and share your bread it’s because you’ve been faithful in sowing your seed. When you so your seed faithfully and consistently the promise of God is that you will be made rich in every way. The new living translation of “made rich ” is “enriched” the blessings of God are not just material but spiritual, relational, emotional. When you give to others it fulfills you and enriches you in so many ways you will overflow in thanks giving.
Two things happen when we give.
- The people who are in need will have their needs met. Each year our church takes up supplies and food for the less fortunate. We call it feed the need. There are A great number of homeless in Memphis. There is a new category of homeless called the working homeless. These are people who work but don’t make enough money to meet all there needs. When we come together and share our bread and sow our seed collectively we are able to feed the need. Some of us who are more fortunate are able to bring the turkey others of us who have less to bring are still able to contribute a “cranberry Sauce” offering. But here’s the thing no matter the size of your offering they both feed a need. Your gifts make a difference and lead to to people giving thanks to God for what you gave.
- People give thanks to God because of you. I talked to Big John the other day about some young people he works with at school. He said, “pastor it’s sad but many of these young people don’t believe in God anymore. They tell me if there is a God why does he allow all of these bad things happen. Why are we still poor?” When people see believers sharing their bread and their resources that’s when they give thanks to God. God becomes real when they see Gods people giving. There is overflow on thanksgiving. What will you give to the poor on thanksgiving other than a passing glance on your way to line up for Black Friday?
How do I benefit from thanksgiving?
I already told you that you would be made rich in every way. Then I told you that there will be an overflow of thanksgiving because of you and lastly there will be an overflow of prayers going up for you. Every person that you bless equals a prayer going up for you. When you give to somebody else that becomes an offering for you. When you give to the poor who cannot repay you in money they repay you in prayers. God sees your gifts, hears their prayers and repays you with blessing. He who gives to the poor is repaid by God.
In an article in Compassion magazine I was interviewed on how our church was able to sponsor over 400 children and rescue them from poverty. With all of the struggles your congregation is facing economically how did y’all sponsor over 400 hundred poor kids?
Here’s my answer:
New Direction Church is a mass class congregation with a deeply rooted urban ministry. We are made up of everyone from schoolteachers to factory workers. We are a people familiar with personal setbacks and challenges. Just within this past year, our city was on the verge of filing bankruptcy, and many of our members felt the brunt of that. But whenever I present a need to our congregation, they always rise to the challenge. They are driven to help others in crisis. This kind of response reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath and how “poor people help poor people.” Our church has love where they don’t have money. They step up to the call, even if it means sharing some of their own bread.
When you share your bread it creates an overflow of thanksgiving.
I have so much to be thankful for! This thanksgiving season help me to share my bread to those in need. Help me to make up my mind this week what I will bring to your house this week so that I can feed the need. I want to experience an overflow of thanksgiving for the people who will be giving you thanks for how you used me to bless them.
In Jesus Name,