"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corinthians 4:7NIV).
It is plausible to use words to thank God for the favours He grants us. Nevertheless, I believe it is more honourable to thank God "practically".
Given that all we have is given to us through God's grace—the unmerited favour—we should ask ourselves why God puts us into positions that He has not given to others. We are placed where we are in order to SERVE. Howbeit, many of us do the unthinkable. As if it is not already bad enough that we serve ourselves, we double it by expecting others who are not equally advantaged to serve us because of the lofty positions we already enjoy.
Is it not cruel that people who are already disadvantaged are taken advantage of by those who are advantaged? Far be it that this should be found in us, Christians. How do we treat our farmhands, housemaids, among others, for example?
If we are going to pursue the heart of Christ then we should strive to give our advantage away. We should be wary of taking advantage of our advantage to further our advantage.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-26) shows us how the rich man missed a chance to be blessed by the poor man. If you told the rich man to befriend Lazarus because the latter had something that was of much more value than all the rich man had combined, he would have laughed the idea to scorn. The lesson was taught and is still being taught but few are they that learn and take note.
We must remember that:
If God gives us food in a neighbourhood of famine, we can be rest assured that the hungry will come to our doors;
If God gives us riches in an environment of poverty, we can be certain that we will have to contend with big numbers of the poor peeping at our gates;
If God gives us land in a place of landlessness, that would have been a sign that we will have squatters for our guests—they will definitely come to share a piece of our land;
If God gives us water in an environment of drought, thirst will naturally drive people to our springs;
If God gives us a house and a home in a neighbourhood of houselessness and homelessness, we will wake up in the morning and find vagabonds lying at our veranda;
If God gives us a peaceful country, we can brace ourselves to contend with large numbers of refugees from the troubled parts of the world.
The big question now is: What will we do with them?
Will we threaten and warn them to steer clear of our territory and property?
Will we push them away empty-handed?
Will we give them something for the moment but ask them never to come back again?
Will we just ignore them?
Will we give a cosmetic smile to deceive them that we accept them?
Will we offer crocodile tears to deceive them that we sympathise with their plight when in our heart we are really questioning why they are moving so close?
The Bible tells us,
"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered" (Proverbs 21:13).
What will we do with them?
Will we blame them for their plight?
Will we serve them with the leftovers from our tables?
Will we refuse to yield when they ask for the bread that belongs to our children?
PRACTICAL WAYS OF THANKING GOD
Thank God for food by sharing it with the hungry;
Express your gratitude to God for the car by giving lifts to those who ask for a hitch hike.
Thank God for your peaceful country by welcoming the stranger running away from war;
Thank God for your house by building a house for a widow;
Thank God for your home by providing a home for an orphan and a vagabond;
Thank God for your children by being a father/mother to the fatherless/motherless.
The list is endless
Giving our advantage away is one of the practical ways of thanking God for His favours in our lives.
NB: An excerpt from: "Virtue That Counts: Pursuing That Which Touches The Heart Of God."