Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say this - those He redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those He gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, 9 for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
2 Corinthians 9:10-15
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” The KVJ uses the words ‘unspeakable gift’, while the Message Translation says “Thank God for this gift, His gift. No language can praise it enough!”
There is an attitude of gratitude which can be detected in all of the writings of the apostle Paul. He was grateful beyond words to God for His mercy and grace through Jesus Christ.
Ever since that dramatic day when Paul’s life was changed forever on the road to Damascus, his entire life was lived for Jesus.
Every part of his life was lived in a manner which expressed the gratitude of his heart.
But when Paul tried to verbalise his gratitude, words failed him.
He was an educated man. Paul was eloquent and he knew all the ‘big’ words, but when it came to putting into words his gratitude to God his vocabulary was inadequate, and so we have words like unspeakable and indescribable.
By our very nature we are self-centred, and everything revolves around us. I’m not a fan of Madonna or her music, but she was spot on when she sang that we “are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.”
This is why it takes a conscious decision to see life and things through spiritual eyes.
The Psalms in particular repeat the message over and over: Give thanks to God. The reason it is repeated so often is obvious – it is because generally speaking we don’t. We pray a prayer of thanksgiving each Sunday, when we thank God for our possessions, our families and His provision, but that is only a small part of thankfulness.
We need to be reminded to not only thank God, but to live our lives in such a way that we reflect an attitude of gratitude like Paul.
We should be living lives of worship.
To recognise the greatness of God’s generosity towards us through Jesus is the first step in cultivating that kind of lifestyle. Today we are here to say thank you to the Lord, and to express our thanks as best we can, but it should not end here. This should only be the beginning. We’re not going to stop saying ‘thank you Lord’ at 9.30!
Gratitude is one of the strongest motives for service beyond the call of duty.
We need to recognise and appreciate God’s generosity, so that our own faith might be encouraged.
God’s indescribable gift saves us from an indescribable fate.
God’s indescribable gift saves us for a high and holy and noble purpose. God’s indescribable gift saves us to a glorious destiny in eternity.
So just what is the nature of this indescribable gift?
It is indescribable for its greatness, because it cannot be put into human terms. Even the wealthiest people on the planet have a limit to what they can give. Money cannot buy what God has given us.
It is indescribable in its freeness. Because we are materialistic by nature, everything has a price. There are no free lunches in the real world. If you want something, you have to pay for it or earn it. But the promise of eternal life through Christ is free, and our minds simply cannot understand that properly. Every religion, with the one exception of the Christian faith, is about doing something in order to appease or please a greater power. But as Christians we don’t have to do anything. It is done. That is what Jesus meant by His dying words on the cross: “It is finished.”
This gift is indescribable in our need for it. We are so self-sufficient, and we are taught from a very early age to look after number one, but we can do nothing about our greatest need: Our need to be reconciled to a Holy God. So He has done it for us. How do you put that into words?
Our sin has offended a Holy God, and as a result of that, we are on a one-way trip to doom and destruction.
But out of His love for us, the Lord gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have eternal life.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
However, a gift requires a response.
People can and do ignore God’s indescribable gift in Christ. It is possible for a person to treat a gift as if it had never been offered.
And to do so is to insult the one who offers it. We might think that blasphemy is using the Lord’s name as a swear word. It most certainly is, but the ultimate blasphemy is looking the one who offers us this indescribable and unspeakable gift of grace in the eye, and saying, “No thank you. I don’t need you, and I don’t need Jesus.”
On the other hand, there are some who do accept God’s indescribable gift without any thought of using it. Have you received God’s indescribable gift in the same way that you might receive a book as a gift without any intention of reading it? Have you received God’s indescribable gift as if it were no more than a trinket that you never wear?
In other words, have you received this gift of life, but it is not being reflected in your life, and there is no real evidence of an attitude of gratitude?
Do you remain a bitter, angry and unforgiving person?
Jesus can change those things in your life if you will only ask Him. Maybe that’s what you need to thank Him for today.
What is your response to God’s gift?
Have you ignored the Christ?
Have you neglected the Christ?
Have you rejected the Christ?
Or have you made Him the Lord of your life so that He is now your Redeemer, Saviour, and Friend?
In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul writes, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Praying without ceasing does not mean praying constantly, but being persistent and consistent in prayer. It’s about reflecting and showing an attitude of gratitude to God for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He continues to do for you.
Thankfulness should characterise the Christian life in every circumstance - not thanks for everything but thanks in everything. Paul emphatically tells us that this is the will of God. An Old Testament example of this was when Job lost his money, his children, and his health. However, Job blessed the name of God in spite of his personal tragedies, not because of them. Nothing speaks more powerfully of a walk with God than continuous thankfulness.
The wisest response that you could possibly make would be that of wholehearted acceptance and full committal of your life to Him who gave His life for you. God’s indescribable gift produced in Paul an attitude of thanksgiving. He responded in humility and with genuine love and obedience to the goodness of God. He found the love of God to be so great and so good that words were simply not enough to fully express his thanks.
An anonymous prayer goes like this: “O Lord, you have given me so much. Give me one more thing – a grateful heart.”
How will we respond to His goodness?
How will you respond?