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                                  Twin Graces of Gratitude & Generosity

                 “Preparing for the Holidays with Lessons from Jesus”

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (-Paul to the Elders in Ephesus, Acts 20:35, NIV)

The holidays are here! How can we make the most of this time of the year during a very trying season of life? What can we see in Jesus’ life to help us prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

     Lessons from Jesus on the Twin Graces of Gratitude & Generosity 

For what was Jesus grateful? 4 examples of giving thanks/praise/honor:

     *Food (e.g., Mt. 14:19; 15:36; 26:26-27)- recognize God’s provision!

     *God gives revelation of spiritual truth (Mt.11:25)- to those trusting Him!

     *God hears him when he prays (Jn.11:41-42)- raising Lazarus!

     *His mother (Jn.19:25-27)- honor is a form of gratitude in relationships.

What did Jesus say about being generous?

     Better to steward the resources God gives you (Mt.25:14-30)- Jesus 

          expects our investment in Kingdom work/priorities. Use it or lose it.

          Readiness & faithfulness; don’t “fail the Master’s trust” (C.Keener).

     Better to give than get (Acts 20:35)- a known saying of Jesus not found 

          in the Gospels (cf. Jn. 21:25). Sacrificial attitude/actions. A selfless

          “generosity of life” (D. Garland),counter-intuitive to self centeredness

     Better to serve than be served (Mt. 20:28/Mk.10:45)- Serving others by

          meeting their needs is the mindset of the generous life. Embrace the 

          sacrifice of the generous life modeled by Jesus.

How does this help us to get ready for the holidays?

     Practice gratitude- acknowledge appreciation privately and publicly.

     Practice generosity- plan, be spontaneous; enjoy giving!