The Result of Thanksgiving

When you are generous to another person, you are not bestowing a gift, but repaying a debt.  Everything you possess materially comes from God, who created all things.  And every spiritual and moral virtue you possess is through divine grace.  Thus you owe everything to God.  More than that, God has given you his Son, to show you how to live: how to use your material possessions, and how to grow in moral and spiritual virtue.  We may say that your material and spiritual possession cost God nothing; God created the universe in order to express his own glory.  But the gift of his Son was supremely costly, because his Son suffered and died for our sakes.  The agony of Christ on the cross is the measure of how much God loves us.  For this reason we should take none of our gifts – material or spiritual – for granted; day by day we should give thanks to God for what he has bestowed on us.  Once this spirit of gratitutde infuses us, we shall see generosity for what it is.  When we help someone in need, we shall be saved from any temptation to take pride in our actions.  On the contrary, we will regard our act as no more than a small token of aprreciation for all that we have received – or, more precisely, the repayment of a tiny fraction of God’s blessings.

-taken from “On Living Simply, The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom” (pg. 30)

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