In my last post I spoke of gratitude. It seems a social nicety so much of the time, but in fact, I’m beginning to see how it is a central player in our relationships with one another and especially with God. Here is what I believe He said to me yesterday morning when I asked Him about it again:
Gratitude connects people. Those who are grateful are, in that way, connected to their benefactors. No one who is ungrateful ever fully benefits from the gifts given, for the greatest blessing of the gifts is the love that caused them to be given in the first place. If a gift is not given for love’s sake, it is only a bribe or a payment or a guilt offering or a self-aggrandizement.
But if a gift is a true gift, given from a heart of love, then it is truly the love that is the gift. The visible gift is only a symbol of that love. If you then take My gifts — rain, food, sunshine, offspring, shelter, comfort, beauty, and more — as an end in themselves, you miss the whole point. I created you with needs and desires so that, in the fulfillment of these needs, you could sense My love and perhaps seek Me out and find Me — that we might share in one another’s love.
I created the entire universe in a state of flux — a place where love could happen and be seen and felt by the passing of blessing from one hand to another. Can’t you see it? What one needs, another supplies. And as you share, the sharing binds you together. You become one — but not the shapeless oneness of a rock or a mass of water. This is more like the oneness of a symphony, a painting, a home.
Gratitude makes love work, for without gratitude, the true gift (which is the GIVER) is left unappreciated, unnoticed, spurned. Without gratitude, there can be no connection, no oneness, no bonds of affection. Remember the Giver, and do not forget. For the Giver of all, Himself is the gift. There is no other.
Now concerning the ungrateful graspers — those whose eyes are on the gift alone — how they heap up for themselves more than they need and take as much as they can get — as much as they want and far more than they need. They are like children scrambling greedily for candy at a parade, thinking only of themselves.
There will never be enough quail (Numbers 11:31-34), enough women or wealth (Solomon), enough bread or fish or wonders (John 6). Until the heart is changed, directed toward the Giver of the gifts, nothing but leanness of soul can result from such plenty.
So when I bless you, My children, never forget that, along with the plenty comes a test. Will you turn to Me, the Giver of the gift, or will you allow the temporal gift itself to turn your eyes away from the real riches — our love?