In the town of Wellsboro, Pa, where I live, we reached record-breaking rain fall. Water was overflowing everywhere. Every stream roared with rushing water. Every hollow was filled. Every depression in our yards seemed fit for an ant’s kayak. The apostle Paul identified overflowing with thankfulness as one mark of the Christian life (Colossians 2:7). Christians, having received and experienced the abundant goodness of God’s grace, ought to overflow with thankfulness. They know how ravishingly God has loved them.
The Chuck Colson Center recently held a conference centered on the question: Is Christianity still good for the world? Some of the facts and statistics shared included the following: Of Americans who attend church weekly and pray daily, 45% volunteered in the last seven days compared to 27% for all Americans. Of the same group, 65% gave money, time, or goods to the poor in the last seven days compared to 45% for all Americans. Americans who attend religious services at least two times a month gave away an average of $2,935 in 2018 compared to $704 for those who did not attend religious service at least twice a month. The rate of adoption for all U.S. households is 2 % versus 5% for practicing Christians (that is two and a half times more). In the U.S., 20% of hospital beds are run by religiously affiliated hospitals. In the U.S., 58% of beds in homeless shelters are run by Christian organizations. Local congregations in the U.S. provide 130,000 recovery programs, run 120,000 programs for the unemployed, and 26,000 programs to help those with HIV/AIDS. In most countries the first schools and hospitals were started by Christians. The church invented the hospital when no one else would care for the victims of the black plague in Europe.
These facts and statistics are fascinating, but a more profound question is: why? Why do Christians take the lead in starting and sustaining such efforts compared to the general population? The answer is simple: thankfulness. When you realize all that you have received from Christ, it changes your entire disposition. You stand in the beauty and wonder of Christ and say: “I will give, because you gave so much.” “I will sacrifice and give away, because you set aside your glory and gave your life for me.”
Let us, with thankful hearts, overflow our communities with acts of thankfulness that astound the world!
*Featured photo by Jasper van der Meij