In October many churches celebrate harvest time. It is appropriate to mark the ingathering of harvest by thanking God for his abundant provision for our needs. God is a great giver. None of us would exist apart from his freely given gifts. He gave us the gift of life itself. Since the day of our birth, we have been the recipients of God's kindness. He grants us the breath that we breathe, the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear and the homes that we live in. He gives us families and friends. God does not owe us any of these things. He simply loves to give and give again. What a good God he is!
But although we may appreciate God's gifts, do we ever pause to give thanks to the giver? From an early age we are taught to give thanks when we receive gifts. Imagine if an adult gave a child a toy and little Jonny simply grabbed the present and attempted to run off to play with it without saying a word. We would think the child ungrateful. We would expect his parent to remind the boy to say "Thank you!" for the present. Even toddlers, barely able to string two words together are bidden to say "Ta!" when given something. Should we not also thank God for all the wonderful things that he has given us throughout our lives? The Bible says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17). God gives to us freely and faithfully each day of our lives.
God's greatest gift to us is not harvest, food or clothing. Above all else, he offers us himself. We can have a relationship with this giving God because he gave his own Son to be our Saviour. Jesus came to rescue us from our sin and ingratitude. By faith in Jesus, we may experience the gift of God's eternal and abundant life. A Christian is a person who has renounced all sense of entitlement. We are saved by God's free and undeserved grace. What we deserve is death, what God gives is life, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23). Grace produces gratitude. The believer will worship God for who he is and thank him for all that he has given. Grace also transforms us from being ungrateful receivers into thankful givers. Knowing the giving God will make us giving people. Freely we have received, freely let us give.