Before reading his Communion meditation last Sunday, one of the elders in my congregation asked us to bow our heads and thank God for the people who brought us to Christ.
Initially, I thought of Mary Anderson, the preacher’s wife at our small congregation in Arizona. At church camp for the first time, I was miserably homesick and woke up several mornings with tummyaches. One morning, when she came to check on me, I talked to her about accepting Jesus and asked some final defining questions that clified what I needed to do. She led me through the next step and I accepted Christ and was baptized the Sunday after I returned home.
Looking back, I realized Mary was only one of many people who led me to the foot of the cross. She didn’t tell me that much that day. She was merely the last one in a long chain of wonderful people who taght and exemplified what the Christian life was all about. There was her husband, Carl, who preached solid Biblical sermons. There were my wonderful Sunday teachers, Mrs. Conner, Mrs. Keeling, Mary, Mrs. Hemphill. There was my mother who faithfully took to us to Sunday School and church in spite of the fact my step-father didn’t go. I watched her teach and lead and coordinate programs. I saw her reading her bible and other Christian books. I learned from all of these people, not merely what they taught but how they lived. So last Sunday, I bowed my head, and thanked God for the wonderful teachers I had had in my life who led me to saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another insight hit me this week. How do we express our thanksgiving? Saying thank you is not enough. Throughout the Bible, men and women showed their appreciation for God’s gifts by giving a gift, by passing on the blessing. The unforgiving servant in Jesus’ parable was guilty not just for failing to forgive his fellow servant. He failed to forgive in light of being forgiven so much himself. He had received the gift of mercy. He was not willing to pass even a tiny portion of the gift to someone else.
I have so gloriously received the gift of salvation. How can I say thanks to my Heavenly Father for such a great gift? By passing on the gift to the next person. How can I say thank you to my Lord for providing such dedicated teachers who had such tremendous influence on me? To give the gift of Bible knowledge to the children I teach.
David, broken and repentant after his sin with Bathsheba, pled for God’s mercy in the poignant Psalm 51. After asking for God’s forgiveness, he promised, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will turn back to you. – Psalm 51:13)
To whom can you pass the torch of God’s saving grace this Thanksgiving. You show your thankfulness to the Lord for your salvation by teaching the children you serve. This Sunday, let your teaching become your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).