11.27.2013

Utmost Thankfulness

I’ve never known real physical poverty, like so many humans have experienced and are experiencing in all parts of the world.  Sometimes my gratitude seems so meager in light of that.  Even though I’ve never been wealthy either, I’ve always had plenty.  Especially plenty enough to look forward to Thanksgiving with presumption that there will be turkey, dressing, trimmings and pumpkin pie on our family’s table.

When I think about the stories on which we pin our Thanksgiving origins—the pilgrims and natives who gathered for a meal—it humbles me in my meager gratitude.  These weary people weren’t instituting a national holiday.  After a difficult year and a bitter winter, the beauty of their thankfulness was their giving it in the land of their poverty.

This made me think of a story that Jesus told in the house of Simon the Pharisee, when a disgraceful woman entered and began lavishing Jesus in humble and sincere worship:

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.”

And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:41-50

The beauty in her worship was her knowing her utmost destitution being covered in Jesus’ utmost mercy.  Oh, how I want her immense gratitude.  I want the gratitude of pilgrims and natives who celebrate provision in light of their suffering and loss.
 
I may have never tasted worldly poverty, but I have, most importantly, known spiritual poverty.  I have been a slave, and accursed.  But God took on the form of my slavery and became my provision—my Lamb—and saved me.  Remembering my complete destitution (as near as the sins committed just this week), and Jesus' complete reconciliation, makes me completely and utterly thankful.