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“The Problem of Thanksgiving”


Pastor Barry Klein, Staples Church of Christ


This devotion was almost entitled, “The Problem of God’s Generosity,” but it would have put the responsibility of the problem in the wrong place.

Jesus calls us to have “eyes to see and ears to hear” in Matthew 13:13-15. He is actually quoting Isaiah’s reverse application when we don’t perceive truth with our God-given eyes and ears. That quote moves into the phrase “understand with their heart.” One Bible tool describes all of this as “having spiritual receptivity.”

One person I know has been heard to say “the grasp of the obvious was missed.” How do we miss the obvious? At best, it seems to happen when we just plain live life too quickly, too fast, too much in an overload mode. At worse, it happens in the midst of what the Bible describes as “hardness of heart.” It is a spiritual condition of being separated from God, doing our own selfish thing.

It’s rather ironic when we take something that’s been given to us, but in turn, use it against the one who has given it to us. That is the earlier point of our Scripture above with the eyes and ears that God has given to us, but we in turn, use those two senses of seeing and hearing in ways that miss God or even rebel against. Him.

God often ties together our love for Him with our love for one another. They aren’t to be separated. Those two loves are a “hand in glove” design. Yet, we hear God call out our propensity to try to separate those two when He calls us back in I John 4:11, as we hear “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Let’s remember that true (agape) love will include forgiving one another. We can read more about that in Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35. As God has so generously loved and forgiven us, we do so then for others.

Our problem with “thankfulness” comes when we take too much for granted, especially when we try to figure life out apart from God. Oh, we even often think that we are on the right path when we live this way. But Proverbs 14:12 reminds us that “There is a way that seems right to people, but in the end, it leads to death.”

Deuteronomy 8 is a fascinating “true-to-life” account in a study in human nature. God is talking with His people about their need to follow His life-giving commands and to also remember that He is the Source of all the generous good that He is sharing with them. But in our fast-paced living and even “hardness of heart,” we tend to forget the One from Whom everything good comes from. In this Thanksgiving season, let’s intentionally get back to using the eyes and ears that God has given us, in gratitude, to see and hear all that He is so generously giving us. It is all around us. All the time, in His lavish spiritual and physical world.

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Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:;

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