Rightly Related Thanks

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Daily Reformation, John 6:35, 41-51

From the Reformer

God could be exceedingly rich in temporal wealth, if he so pleased, but he will not. If he would but come to the pope, the emperor, a king, a prince, a bishop, a rich merchant, a citizen, a farmer, and say: Unless you give me a hundred thousand crowns, you shall die on the spot; every one would say: I will give it, with all my heart, if I may but live. But now we are such unthankful slovens, that we give him not so much as a Deo gratias, though we receive of him, to rich overflowing, such great benefits, merely out of his goodness and mercy. Is not this a shame? Yet, notwithstanding such unthankfulness, our Lord God and merciful Father suffers not himself to be scared away, but continually shows us all manner of goodness. If in his gifts and benefits he were more sparing and close-handed, we should learn to be thankful. If he caused every human creature to be born with but one leg or foot, and seven years afterwards gave him the other; or in the fourteenth year gave one hand, and afterwards, in the twentieth year, the other, then we should better acknowledge God’s gifts and benefits, and value them at a higher rate, and be thankful. He has given unto us a whole sea-full of his Word, all manner of languages, and liberal arts. We buy at this time, cheaply, all manner of good books. He gives us learned people, that teach well and regularly, so that a youth, if he be not altogether a dunce, may learn more in one year now, than formerly in many years. Arts are now so cheap, that almost they go about begging for bread; woe be to us that we are so lazy, improvident, negligent, and unthankful.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

“Give me more!” This is the demand of the poor relation. This is the cry of the stranger to faith. But the rightly related says, “Give me yourself” and “I give myself to you.” The rightly related simply believes. This is also the truest gratitude.

My wife has given me excellent gifts over the years. She really knows how to choose the perfect gift. But the best gift she has ever given me is at once perhaps the simplest and most difficult. She has stayed with me for almost 36 years now. She has given me herself—the perfect gift. The best thank-you card I can send her is me.

God too, sends us his very best gift: himself. He was not content in giving us food. He also gave us food from heaven—and not just wilderness manna but the bread of life, Jesus Christ—God in the flesh. The best thank you we can send him is ourselves. It is the thank you called belief that only the family of God knows how to send.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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