This week at Wednesday Night Worship we wrapped up the "Give Thanks" series. We opened up with a worship set that included "Happy Day" (Tim Hughes), "My Heart is Your" (Kristian Stanfill), and "Waiting Here For You" (Christy Nockels). I gave a brief review of the previous week's message and we again read Luke 17:11-19. In this passage there are 10 lepers that have been healed. Nine of them go on with their lives, but one returns and offers thanks to Jesus for healing. We have to ask ourselves if we are like the nine or the one?
As we consider this question, we must first realize that if we are saved that we have been healed of something far much worse than leprosy. We have been healed of our sin that has separated us from God. When we realize what a wonderful thing that this is, we should offer a response. Our response should be to show Jesus how thankful we truly are. The one leper modeled this as he returned to Jesus. True thanksgiving is offered at the feet of Jesus.
So what does this look like in the life of a believer? It means we give ourselves fully to Him. We do this by giving our time, our efforts, our service (through spiritual gifts), and by giving our finances. If we are all-in for the kingdom of God like we say we are then it will be reflected in our giving. Following Jesus must cost us or it is not truly following Him. I challenged the students to prayerfully consider what sacrificial giving to the kingdom of God looks like in their own life. It may mean that there are some things they can do without: entertainment, eating out, coffee, video games, music, hobbies, etc. By doing so they will establish a healthy habit of giving now. If we say we will give later, like most things we will really never get around to doing it.
It is easy as a teenager to think that they do not have much to offer. Probably most of them do not work a job. However most receive money in other ways: allowances, rewards, gifts, etc. They can still give a portion as God leads them and it will be used for God's glory. We read Luke 21:1-4 about the widow who only had two small copper coins to give. It was not much, but she gave out of her heart. I told the students that if God leads them to give only $5, that He will honor it. God is more concerned with the heart behind the giving than the amount given.
We closed in a time of prayer asking God to show us what we can sacrifice to give back to Him. I told the students that if they have questions, need to talk more about this topic, or need prayer that I am here to help them work through it. I left some of the "All-In" commitment cards for the students to grab as they left for them to fill out and turn in at our Thanksgiving service this Sunday. It always excites me to see the students stepping out in obedience to God and I am excited to see how they respond to this.