Three boys at Christmas all received the same present—a bicycle. They all joyously said “Thank you” to their parents and gave them a great big hug.
The first boy took his brand new bicycle, rolled it into the garage, and never touched it again.
The second boy proceeded to sell his bike the very same day to a neighbor who wanted it. The boy took the money he made and bought a video game.
The third boy took his bicycle and played with it. All. The. Time. He always took great care of his bicycle. He checked the tire pressure regularly and made sure the chain was always oiled properly. He always put his bike up and never left it laying around in the yard or outside overnight. He used it every opportunity he could, and he cherished it… and everyone in the neighborhood knew it!
Question: Which boy was “truly” thankful?
Anybody can declare they are thankful (sometimes even with great fanfare), but our actions will prove the truth of our words. Being thankful is one of the characteristics of a “true disciple” (John 8:31). For the Lord has commanded our thankfulness repeatedly (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 1:12; 3:15; 3:17; Ephesians 5:4, 20; I Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15) But as Christians, do we really show it? Do we really prove that we are faithfully thankful?
Consider for just a moment, three simple magnificent blessings of grace that the Lord has given us, and apply the learning from the parable.
The gift of the Bible—Do you love the word of God? Is reading God’s word a daily joy for you? Do you appreciate and value the word of God and thank Him continually in prayer for the ben-efit it is to your life and the salvation it provides your soul? (Romans 1:16; I Timothy 3:16-17)
The gift of Prayer—Speaking of prayer; isn’t that another blessed gift? The Lord Jesus Christ is your mediator, your High Priest, and He is such having given up the glory of heaven and com-ing to this earth and suffering as a man and dying in your place so that you could have the hope of salvation. (I Timothy 2:5-6) The ability to communicate to your Creator, to petition Him for your needs, to unload the burdens of your heart upon His caring ear; do you take the gift of prayer and use it like you love it—because you do?
The gift of the Church—And what about the blessing of the church? To have a family of faith to love and support you through life. A group of people that you can count on to fellowship with in worship to our Almighty God. Do you give to the church in work and service in a manner that shows your thankfulness? Do you attend with a regularity that shows your thankfulness? Do you worship with a passion that proves your thankfulness for this priceless blessing?
There are other gifts, but for now, just evaluate your life and see how you prove how thankful you are to God in just these three specific areas. How could you improve in proving your thankfulness? The only question that will remain thereafter is, “Now, will you?”
Consider also the actions of the first two boys and how they can relate to religion today.
The first boy—how many people say to God that they are thankful, but their bible rests tucked away in a corner somewhere gathering dust, they rarely ever pray, and even less often attend church? Like Solomon, how thankful can we be for a blessing that we ignore. (I Kings 11:1-11—his wisdom)
The second boy—trades/exchanges (Romans 1:21-23) the gifts for what he is “really/truly” thankful for. What he really wanted all along. The video game. How many take the blessings of God but exchange them for what they want? They don’t observe the Lord’s Supper faithfully (I Corinthians 11:18-29) but they do Christmas and/or Easter. They exchange singing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) with playing (instruments). They exchange the word of God for the doctrines of men (II Timothy 4:3-4). Like Esau, how thankful can we truly be for a blessing that we exchange. (Hebrews 12:15-17—his birthright)
Be thankful. Prove your thankfulness with your actions. May everyone you know, know how thankful you are to God, for God, and for all His gracious blessings in your life.