There are few things more frenzied than a child’s birthday party at a roller rink. My son had been the lucky recipient of an invitation to such a party, and I (along with a double dose of Advil) agreed to chaperone.
I expected loud music and kids falling from their skates into large piles. What I didn’t see coming was the glimpse of God that emerged through the chaos.
Halfway through the party, my son and his friends took a break from skating and sat down to eat. The children began devouring their pizza, but my son paused. I noticed the wheels turning in his head.
“We didn’t pray for our meal!” my son shouted emphatically. A friend replied, “Not everyone prays.”
My son looked at me with confusion and panic. What now? I gently pulled him aside and whispered in his ear, “I am so proud of you. Just go back to your seat and do what you think is right.”
In the midst of the pizza and noise and party streamers and chaos, I watched as my little boy sat down, folded his hands, and said a prayer.
No fanfare. No attention-getting schemes. No yelling at others for not following along. Just a boy thanking God for his lunch ~ because his heart told him it was the right thing to do.
It’s that kind of heart that God smiles upon. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Perhaps it’s giving food or water to someone in need. Or lending a helping hand. Maybe it’s something as simple as offering up thanks to God with a genuine heart. Whether the apostle Paul was writing about physical gifts or intangible qualities, the message is the same: God delights when our hearts give without the weight of who’s looking or what people may think of us.
Most of us will sit down to a massive turkey dinner this week and offer thanks for our nation’s blessings. Yet as Christians, we are reminded that thanksgiving is not a single event squeezed in between a feast and football games. It is a way of life because of Christ’s great love for us. His love isn’t about abiding by arbitrary man-made rules or measuring our lives up against a list in which we can gauge our performance. It’s about the great love God freely gave even though we did nothing to earn it.
Saying thanks for that kind of love is the least we can do. And whether we thank God for pizza, health and wealth, or a sunny day, shouldn’t we offer it generously and with a cheerful heart?
Katie Heid Copyright 2014
About the author:
Katie Heid believes God never wastes hurt or disappointment. She uses the hurts and disappointments from her own life to help others learn the same. She has traveled throughout the Midwest to minister to women from all walks of life and help them cultivate a deeper relationship with God and experience the hope He offers.
Katie is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She is a former television reporter and anchor for WLNS in Lansing, Michigan. Currently, she teaches writing and public speaking courses at Baker College and serves on the speaking team at her church. She makes her home in Michigan with her husband and two sons.