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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”—2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)
Generation after generation, countless parents have sacrificed their wants for the needs of their children. However, this altruistic act is all too often met with entitled responses instead of genuine gratefulness. Said children might even complain about what they are given, and then ask for more, never giving it a second thought. That is until they grow up and have their own children.
My mother told me of the day when she, a young mother of two small girls, made that call to her own mother to apologize for her ungratefulness. When we understand how great the sacrifices were, we can’t help but see the deep love that fueled those sacrifices and respond with our own expression of love.
Maybe that is why we have a hard time showing the appropriate gratitude to our Savior. We have no way to comprehend the depth of His sacrifice. No human comparison can suffice. No earthly illustration can come close. What He forfeited on our behalf is so unfathomable that it leaves us lacking.
In addition, we often underestimate the extent of our poverty without Him. In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us that the poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of God. We can’t truly experience the fullness of the kingdom until we understand how desperate we are without Him.
In Luke 7, we read about Jesus sitting with the disciples when a woman, identified by Peter as a “sinner,” comes to express her gratitude. Somehow she knew what no one else seemed to understand. She breaks her alabaster box and pours out her entire livelihood to wash the feet of her Savior. And Peter looks on with ignorant pride, judging her with his words. I wish I was the woman in this story, but too often I am like Peter, looking at my Savior while forgetting His worth and what He has done.
And even if we do have a moment of clarity, it isn’t long before we forget. Yet there is one surefire way to remember, and that is through the regular reading and meditation of the Bible. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15 NKJV). That requires remembering them, which also requires reading them.
When we regularly focus on the sacrifice and love of our Savior, we are able to express our gratefulness and love for Him by loving others. Focus on His goodness, and let His love fill your heart.
DIG: Read Luke Chapter 7.
DISCOVER: In what practical ways can you express your gratitude to the Lord?
DISPLAY: Pray about a relationship that is strained due to conflict. Consider how you can honor Jesus’ sacrifice by showing love and humility to the other person.