By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr
(Sabbath, 24th December, 2011)
Be Thankful: All things are Yours!
Golden Text: "Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours" (1 Cor. 3:21).
As the end of the year sees us alive and healthy, we have every reason to be thankful to God. The LORD has richly blessed us in uncountable ways, and it’s only proper that we bless His holy name at all times and particularly at this time.
Over the course of the year, the arm of the LORD has brought us life and victory. We have scaled the mountain of problems, ascended the pit of depression, escaped death by a hair’s breadth and crossed the sea of troubles.
Believers are the most blessed people on earth. According to the word of the living God, "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Pet. 1:3). The purpose of the call—"glory and virtue"—has been made real in our lives by His unfailing mighty power, with the result that we have received "all things that pertain unto life and godliness".
Do you believe this? It’s not a promise yet to be fulfilled. It’s a present reality in your Christian life—you "have been granted everything you need for life and for godliness". Not one ingredient for a fruitful earthly life and a righteous, holy life in Christ is missing. His divine power has given you "all things" that ensure your success in both your physical and spiritual life. So you are thriving and will thrive in your family life, business life and personal health. And you will thrive in your spiritual life as well, as you "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18). Isn’t this the story of your life?
The Apostle John wrote to his beloved friend Gaius: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (3 John 1:2). Life in Christ is the best of both worlds: "… godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:8).
Where else can one find such a blessed life of glory except in the Lord?
The "Cup of Salvation" is Overflowing
We can never repay the Lord for all His goodness except to give thanks to His holy name. That’s all we can do, in addition to serving Him in truth. Filled with the same sense of overwhelming gratitude to God, the Psalmist sung:
"What shall I render unto the LORD for all His benefits toward me?
"I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
"I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all His people.
"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.
"O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
"I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all His people,
"In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD" (Ps 116:12-19).
"The cup of salvation" the Psalmist lifts up in thanks to God is not an empty cup or even half full; it’s brimful of infinite divine blessings, both spiritual and physical. The ”cup” contains the goodness of the LORD for which the Psalmist is full of praise and thanksgiving: "I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all His people. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD".
He was in the grip of a debilitating disease and near death, the Psalmist remembers, but Yah loosed him from the bonds of death because He considered his life so valuable. His portion is not untimely death (see Ps. 72:14), but "the cup of salvation".
Like the Psalmist of Ps 116, the portion of every true believer is "the cup of salvation", not the cup of God’s wrath and judgment (Ps 11:6, 75:8; Isa. 51:17; Rev. 14:9-11, 16:19). Yet how many of us routinely thank God for His acts of kindness toward us? Not only financial giving but testimony-giving in praise of God is a valid form of thanksgiving!
While God "hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"(Eph 1:3), He is not indifferent to our physical wellbeing nor deprived us of material blessings. Hebrews 13:5 tells us: "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (ESV). In Matthew 6, His assurance is that He who sees to the welfare of the birds of the air and the grass of the field–which are of much lower value–will look after His own as part of a complete package that comes with being a member of His kingdom of righteousness (vv. 25-33). Indeed, He "gives us richly all [material] things to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17), for "they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing" (Ps. 34:10; cp 145:19).
Let Your Soul Bless the LORD
Beloved, you are infinitely rich in Christ. Every spiritual and physical blessing of His is yours. Don’t hold back your praise. Let your soul bless the LORD for both His spiritual and physical blessings richly poured into your life:
"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
"Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
"Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
"Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s" (Ps 103:1-5).
This is the right spirit. God is good, infinitely good, to His children. You feel it in your innermost being and experience it in your body and everyday life. He has crowned you with love and mercy. Therefore, give free rein to the joy of our heart; let your lips flow with adoration. Let His praise continually be in your mouth and bless Him at all times (Ps 34:1). He’s enthroned on the praises of Israel (Ps 22:3). Halleluiah!