As if you haven't already seen enough Thanksgiving decorations, made enough gravy, driven enough miles to your great aunt's house, and read enough blog posts about Thanksgiving....I thought I'd let you hear about it one more time.
A couple of nights ago we had our annual Thanksgiving-eve service. Of course it was wonderful, as always. One of the speakers, who happens to be a fantastic youth leader of mine, was talking (obviously) about Thanksgiving. He began to talk about what it really means to be thankful. Not just an "I'm thankful for you" kind of deal. But what will happen if you're truly thankful. If you're thankful for your family, you won't talk badly about them behind their backs. If you're truly thankful for your job, you won't complain about it. If you're truly thankful for your salvation, you'll share it with the world, and live in a way that shows you have salvation. And so on and so forth.
This was killing me because I know I complain so often for things I should really be thankful for. And I know I take so many things for granted, and overlook them day by day. I seem to thank God for things, but I don't show my thankfulness for them in the way I live. So he was encouraging us to not only think about how thankful we are for different blessings, but to show it and live it out.
And then he also talked about some different things that he was thankful for, the biggest one being his salvation. He read Romans 5:8 because it's one of his very favorite verses. You know how people always say that no matter how many times you've read a passage of scripture you can still get something new out of it every time? Well, I don't know about you, but I've read this verse a hundred times, quoted it for all sorts of things, and thought on it a lot.
And tonight was one of those nights that I got something new out of it, after having read it over and over and over throughout my lifetime.
For those of you who may not know this verse, it says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (NASB)
First of all, He demonstrates His own love to us. He didn't just say, "I love you." He sent Christ to the cross, and I'd say that's quite the demonstration. This goes with what was said about how we often say that we're thankful for this, or thankful for that, but don't really demonstrate it. Well, I'm here to tell you that God displayed the most incredible demonstration of love that could ever be shown.
And secondly, He loved us and died for us while we were sinners. I've thought about this many, many times. But tonight something hit me that I've never thought of before. Think about someone you love. If you're married, your spouse. If I were to ask my mom, "Why do you love Dad?" she could give me a long list of reasons. If you were to ask me why I love Katelyn Murphy, I would tell you it is because she is one of the most loyal people I know, she encourages me, gives me advice, is a servant to others, loves the Lord with her whole heart, sacrifices herself for myself and everyone around her, and the list continues.
And then you ask the Lord, "Why do you love me?" and what do you think He is going to say?Because you pray? Because you read the Bible? Because you go to church? Well, that couldn't be it...just think about the thousands of times we fail Him each day that are so much bigger than the good things we do.
What about before you did any of these things? Why did He love you when you didn't even care about Him?
What about before you were born? Why did He love you then, when He knew you would sin against Him and reject Him?
While I have a huge list of reasons why I should love my best friends, He has no absolutely no reason to love us. We have done nothing to deserve it.
Why has He ever loved you and why has He ever loved me?
I don't know. The only thing I can come up with, is that it is because God is love. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John 4:8 (KJV).
I don't get it. It's so far beyond my comprehension. It's just one of those things for which I am thankful.