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The Grace Of Gratitude
What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? — Ps 116:12
God’s benefits are here compared to a cup or chalice brimming with salvation. It seems natural to speak of man’s lot, either of sorrow or joy, as the cup of which he drinks. The cup or lot of our life brims with instances of God’s saving help—“my cup runneth over,” and we ask, how may we thank Him enough? What shall we render unto Him, for all His gracious help?
There are many answers, and the first is, that we will Take. In other words, as one has truly said, Taking from God is the best giving to God, for God loves to give. St. James says: “He is the giving God, who gives not only liberally, but with no thought of personal advantage, and for the mere joy of giving?’ What, then, will gratify Him more than to be trusted, to find recipients for His gifts, to know that we are prepared to be His poor debtors, owing Him ten thousand talents, with nothing to pay, but still receiving and receiving from His great heart of Love. Nothing hurts God more than that we should not take what He offers—“God so loved that He gave,” and when we refuse to appropriate His greatest gift, we inflict the deepest indignity and dishonour of which we are capable.
Then, we must call upon His Name (Psa 116:13-17). Take the Name of the Lord as a test. Friendships, plans, profits, amusements, studies—all these cups should be tested by this one mighty Talisman.
We must be sure to pay our vows (Psa 116:14-18; Ecc 5:4-5). We make vows in our trouble, which we sometimes forget when it is past. Surely, it is the height of ingratitude not to redeem our promissory notes. All devoted things, which are laid on God’s altar, are absolutely His, and the giver forfeits all rights to their disposal.
Our gratitude demands the gift of ourselves (Psa 116:16). When Robinson Crusoe freed the poor captive, the man knelt before his deliverer, and put his foot upon his neck, in token of his desire to be his slave, and the love of Christ, who loosed us from our bonds, constrains us to live not to ourselves but unto Him (Rev 1:5 R.V.). Loosed from the cords of sin, we become bound to the service of love.
Father, we would thank Thee for all the benefits that we have received from Thy goodness. The best thanksgiving we can offer to Thee is to live according to Thy holy will; grant us every day to offer it more perfectly, and to grow in the knowledge of Thy will and the love thereof Amen.