Contributors, not just receivers

Here in Canada it’s Thanksgiving Monday.

Even though it’s a tough time, there’s a lot to be thankful for. I’ve got a gratitude list the length of the Great Wall of China.

But today I want to think about thankfulness from another angle. 

There was a time when the ancient Israelites were exiled from their homes and country. Talk about hardship! They would be there for seventy years. While there, the prophet Jeremiah wrote them a letter with a word from God. A part of it told them to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).

They were to be contributors to their communities. Not just takers, but contributors.

I think the same is true for us.

Cotton Mather was a puritan pastor. He wrote: “We expect benefits from human society. It is but equal that human society should receive benefits from us.”*

We’ve benefited from many things in the world. And today we’re thankful. But are we a benefit to that same world? If the society around us could talk, would it be glad we’re here?

I realize that we sometimes go through rough patches. But when we take the big picture view of our lives, we’re shouldn’t just be takers, but contributors. 

Pray for your community. Look for ways to bless, give, help, or encourage.

We expect benefits from human society. It is but equal that human society should receive benefits from us.”*

By Matthew Ruttan

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

–*Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 23.

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