Handling the fruit of work (Part 4) - An attitude of gratitude

Our wealth is not our own (Part 1). We are “fools” if we hoard it (Part 2). Instead God has entrusted us with many good gifts for a purpose – the building up and fostering of relationships (Part 3).

But for all of us there are times when it is still hard to be generous. We know we should, but it doesn’t come naturally. This is where we need to hear the good news of the Gospel afresh. Because it is the Gospel which ultimately changes our heart to be more generous. It is the Gospel that awakens an attitude of gratitude.

I don’t know about you but I find it easy to give extravagant gifts to the people I love the most; my wife, my children, my close friends. I love to spend money on them. But the more distant a person is to me the smaller my gift becomes. As for enemies, I find it very hard to give them anything, even my prayers.

And yet it was in this state, as enemies of God, that He showed the most extravagant generosity towards us (Romans 5:8-10). Not a miserly gift, handed over begrudgingly, but the gift of His Son, for us. This is the generosity of God, the grace of God, “contemplating the ugliness of sin, and, contrary to all expectations, acting beneficially”. [1]

It is daily meditation upon the extravagant generosity of God, and only this, which will move us to a life of generosity in response. For when we look upon the cross and see how much God has given to us, we find ourselves moved to give generously in response. It is out of our “overflowing joy” in the Gospel that our generosity is to flow (2 Corinthians 8:2).

One significant difference this should make to our lives is that we are grateful not grumblers. We speak words of gratitude, not whines of complaint. Oh how easy it is to join in with the grumbling that marks so many of our workplaces. And yet this should not be so – we have everything to be thankful for! In Christ we have forgiveness, hope for the future, and life now to the full.

So one simple way that we can overflow with joy because of the extravagant generosity of God is to be thankful people. Thankfulness should be a hallmark of the Christian person in the office. So perhaps one small thing that you can do is to take a moment before you leave the office each day to say thank you to each colleague for some small way that they have helped you throughout the day. In a workplace marked by grumbling and complaint this simple gesture is distinct, it is different. And it testifies to that gladness of heart which has filled you because of the extravagant generosity of Christ.

We began this series by warning of the deadly distraction and temptation that money can be. Very often this is because we seek pleasure and satisfaction and joy in money and what we hope it might provide. Yet it fails to satisfy. It is only in God, and His extravagant generosity to us in creation, and ultimately salvation, that we find all our desires satisfied. It is in him that we find ultimate pleasure, ultimate satisfaction and overflowing joy. So pursue Him. And use the good gift of money that He entrusts to you through your daily labour for the benefit and blessing of others. Use it to help others find their ultimate pleasure and satisfaction and joy in God too.

 

[1] John Piper, Future Grace, 78.

Image courtesy: godspace-msa.com

 

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