Don’t you just love autumn? It is my favorite season of the year. The crisp cool air, the colorful leaves, yams are in season and so are sweaters and boots. With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is also a time frequently reserved for remembering all the things for which we are thankful. I recently decided to do a quick Bible study on what God had to say about being thankful. I found scriptures that reinforce the importance of having an attitude of thanksgiving. Here are a few of those reminders:
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:19-20
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:15-17
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. ~ Psalm 105:1
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. ~ Colossians 4:2
There are so many more scriptures encouraging us to maintain an attitude of thanks towards God and all He has done for us. These scriptures definitely serve as good reminders to stay faithful in thanksgiving, not only because the holiday is soon approaching, but as part of our everyday life.
While reading through the scriptures on thanksgiving, I came across a passage that really stood out. Its lesson on thanksgiving was like no other I had come across before. In 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 I learned about sowing seeds of thanksgiving, something I was not familiar with. The scripture reads:
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people, but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:11-12
In the book of 2 Corinthians the apostle Paul is writing to the church of Corinth to follow up on some issues discussed in his first letter to them (1 Corinthians) and to give and request updates since their last communications with one another. In chapter 9 he asks the Corinthians about a giving initiative to meet the needs for the poor saints in Jerusalem. He is certain they have already committed to giving to this cause and is very proud. Paul says “For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action” (2 Cor. 9:2 NIV). After all his bragging, Paul wants to make sure they plan to be as generous as he expects.
He then goes on to describe the type of attitude they should have in giving. First, they should give abundantly. This means they should not be stingy in giving, but have a heart to give more than what is needed. Second, they should give intentionally. He encourages them to give with the specific needs of those receiving in mind. Last, Paul reminds the Corinthians to give freely. He means they should be happy to give knowing the One who enables them to give can give right back. Paul states “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 7 NIV).
To make his point even more clear, Paul compares giving to planting and harvesting. In verse 6 he reminds them, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” He means that what we give we can receive. If we give much we will receive much. Paul is not implying that we give simply to receive. He makes it clear that we should give, and give cheerfully, because this is what God loves. We give because it pleases God. However, when we plant seeds through giving, a harvest will be reaped. Paul discusses what that harvest is in verses 10 and 11. He notes that God is the giver of all we possess and God blesses us so that we may bless others. Our harvest from God may be physical or it may be spiritual, but we know that it will be sufficient and we are to trust Him in that.
In the last part of verse 11 Paul says something very interesting. He states “your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God”. Their seeds of giving will reap a harvest of increase for them, but it will also result in an increase of thanksgiving to God. In verse 12 he says, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” When the Corinthians give to the poor of Jerusalem, Paul will thank God his request was granted and the poor saints in Jerusalem will thank God that their needs and wants were met. This is what it means to sow seeds of thanksgiving. When we give as Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give, we open doors of opportunity for those receiving the gifts to glorify God with thanksgiving.
In 2 Corinthians 9 Paul makes his request and explains how and why the Corinthians should give. More importantly he stresses that giving pleases God and gives more thanks to God. This Thanksgiving season let’s not allow our thanks to God stop with us. Let’s give others a reason to thank Him as well. Let us sow in giving abundantly, intentionally, and freely that God may reap a plentiful harvest of thanksgiving. This is how we can take thanksgiving to the next level. This is how we sow seeds of thanksgiving.
© 2012 Christina Patterson
About the author
Christina Patterson is a wife, mom, and founder of Beloved Women. She obtained her Masters in Theological Studies from Liberty University. With a deep passion for women’s ministry, she has a desire to see women fulfilled and free through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.belovedwomen.org