Today’s scripture: Psalm 118: 21-24 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (John Seksay):

Is it at all reasonable to be thankful for a seemingly thankless task? We tend to jump at an opportunity to be immediately and visibly rewarded for our efforts. After all, we are investing our precious time and energy – where is our return on investment? Are we getting our proper share? Shouldn’t we always be feathering our own nest?

When I read today’s passage, there is a very different message being presented to me. Here is a person who sees that God is continually providing everything being received. Rather than being out to acquire and control more, he is looking to share what has been given to increase the benefit of the blessings he has received. To withhold would be to deny the outpouring of grace that sustains him. This is the secret weapon of a Mother Teresa, when the world tells her that her chosen task is infinite, her path is endless, and the exercise therefore pointless.

Mother Teresa wished to express her love for God and honor God’s call to serve. She knew the task was never-ending – and was thankful. Where we see unending toil, she saw unending opportunity to become the soul God would have her be. She was not there to win the praise of the powerful or the notoriety from the press of public opinion. She was there to thank God for so many opportunities to be the face and hands of God to those who needed help and received scant attention from the busy world around them. For her, every day was the Lord’s day, and filled with opportunity.

Souls with the capacity for giving like Mother Teresa are rare. But every soul has some measure of that capacity. But it is only realized when that soul performs the task to express God’s love for the world with a thankful heart. Are we as deeply grateful during sacrificial giving as we are during beneficial receiving? Do we see a call to serve as an opportunity – or as a burden to be finished as quickly as possible so that we can return to what we deem important? Are we truly thankful to God by using the gifts bestowed on us for God’s purposes?

Thought for the day: If my heart isn’t right, then I’m just going through the motions for my own purposes — a worldly path with worldly consequences.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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