If you’re like me, you’ve been thumbing through old cookbooks and searching posts on the internet hunting the perfect recipes for this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s the star banquet of the year, this meal. We want it to be filled with equal parts tradition and deliciousness. But most of all, we want a recipe for our families that will stir a long lasting legacy of equal parts thanks and giving.
One of my favorite cook books is from my home church. It used to have an 80’s brown cover with pictures of cross stitched cooks on it, but because I’ve opened it so many times throughout the years, it has finally fallen off the spiral binding like a leaf falls off a tree. The cover page, however, is identical to what I used to see on our church bulletin every Sunday growing up.
“To Know Him and To Make Him Known,” is the motto that hovers boldly over the detailed illustration of our church. This bold mission statement stands tall, from the shadow of the 6’4 man who led our church to keep this focus. Most called him Pastor Jerry. I called him Daddy.
He borrowed this phrase from The Navigators. They set the tone for his walk with Christ when he came to know Jesus. As I’ve grown, I have adopted the same motto for my own life.
Really, upon contemplation, this is the best recipe for thanks and giving before Jesus.
When we know Christ, we can’t help but thank him for who He is and all that He has done to bring us to His table of abundant feasting. He invites us to get our fill of Him…the Bread of Life and the Living Water. There is no good thing He will withhold from us if we walk uprightly with Him (Psalm 84:11). He supplies all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). He has given us peace by the presence of His Holy Spirit (John 14:7). He has given us access to all the fruits of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He has given us sufficient grace in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). And most of all, He has given us redemption because of all that He did for us in His death, burial, and resurrection (Ephesians 1:7). No, when we pull up a chair at His banquet table to feast on all that He has spread out for us, really getting to know Him for who He is and all that He offers, we can’t help but give Jesus thanks.
And then there’s the giving. One of the best ways to give back to Jesus for all that He has done for us is to make Him known. There’s the famous command He gave us to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20). But there are also the instructions to let the world know we are His disciples by the simple act of (and at times, not so simple) loving one another (John 13:35). He teaches us how to demonstrate our love for Him by obeying His commands (John 14:15). When we know Christ, our lives become living letters of Him (2 Corinthians 3:3). Our stories, where they intersect with God’s story, become testimonies that can introduce others to the power and hope of Jesus (Luke 8:39). We have so much to feast upon when we are tucked inside the riches of Christ. Through Christ, we have the gift not only of everlasting life in the hereafter, but the abundant life here. Abundance means there’s plenty to share. The best giving is giving someone the same hope and comfort we’ve received by pointing them to Jesus.
This Thanksgiving, you’re going to gather around your table of influence. You have the opportunity to thank the Lord for what He has given you and also to give a taste of what He has done in your life.
If you follow this recipe, you’ll have found the best recipe for thanks and giving ever: Know Christ and Make Him Known.