The Bare Soul - November 25, 2007

Psalm 116:12-13 - How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

The more I give, the more I am blessed. No matter if it is just a smile or a wave as I am out on one of my daily runs, or whether it is interacting with my family or friends. Sometimes, home life can be the most telling regarding how much and how graciously we actually give. "Familiarity can breed contempt" if we allow it. Sometimes, those we love the most we can take for granted if we choose.

I am so grateful today for my wife of ten years. We just celebrated an anniversary and it is with joy I say that our love grows daily because we nurture it. Not to say that all has been harmonious the past ten years. Attempting to "blend" families with three of mine and two of hers that were entering teenage years when we married was a series of attempts and mostly failures. It is a tough undertaking to raise children these days, let alone trying to create a solid family unit when three households are involved.

Nonetheless, I am grateful today for all that the Lord has brought us through. As with most of us, this time of year brings reflection regarding our families, especially when we come together on Thanksgiving Day and share a meal. We may have certain expectations of the day that are sometimes not the reality once the day of thanks has passed. Often, resentments and longings for a more "functional" family can set in. We hope for a Norman Rockwell gathering but prepare for Clark Griswold pandemonium. The reality, for most of us, is somewhere in the middle.

As stated, expectations can be totally unrealistic. There will always be those dysfunctional folks in any family (present company included!) that will beg for patience and perseverance, if not audibly then by their unseemly actions. These, my friends, are "opportunities" to allow the Lord to increase our patience and long-suffering by practiced giving which in turn blesses all.

Giving brings fullness of life. It is a universal fact called the Law of Reciprocity. God has written into the very fiber of existence that whatever a person sows, they will also reap. If I am a giver of criticism, anger, and malice then I will receive the fruits of those actions and be pretty miserable. If I sow love, joy, mercy, and hope then I will reap good things in my life. The GIVING is so important for the LIVING

During this time of thanksgiving, let us remember who gave the most on our behalf -- the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest Giver to ever grace our planet gave everything -- not holding back even His own life. The Psalmist recognized the greatness of God and His all encompassing goodness to humanity, knowing that NOTHING could we give back to God but our gratitude and our love [obedience]. It is our privilege to worship God daily by reminding ourselves and thanking our Heavenly Father for sending His Son to earth to live, die, and rise again. In this season of thanksgiving, may we all consider our Divine Giver who gave us everything that we might have life and have it more abundantly. The wonderful irony of all we have been given as believers is this -- that the more we give, the more we truly receive. Thank God this day for the reminder of Thanksgiving for truly then we can rejoice in Thanks-living!!

Your Humble Barefoot Servant!

Barefoot Rick

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