June 20, 2010
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
It's been a long time since I've been on a farm.
But I do remember many years ago, when I was about 12, I stayed at my uncle's farm. Back then he kept six dairy cows. When I asked him how much milk one of his cows gave, he replied, "Kenny, if you're asking how much milk a cow gives willingly, the answer is 'she don't give a drop.'"
"But if you're asking how much milk she gives when I corner her in a stall, and lock her head in so she can't move, and then take it from her, well, the answer is 'about 10 quarts.'"
Over the years I've known some people who are less giving than even my uncle's cow.
If someone asks how much they willingly give, the answer has to be "nothing." And if you wonder how much they give when they're cornered and can't move, the answer still remains "nothing."
Most of these folks never stop to consider the blessings God has given them in the Person of the Savior. They take Jesus' -- His life, His suffering, and His death -- for granted. The forgiveness and salvation which He has won for them is a pretty matter-of-fact matter.
That's very sad. It's sad because a person who gives no thankful response to the Savior isn't likely to respond to the needs of his neighbors either.
What a contrast these people are when compared to the Lord. God didn't have to be coerced, convinced, or conned into setting His salvation plan into motion.
And when it comes to giving, Jesus didn't die because nails held Him to His cross. He didn't die that dark day because some soldiers were standing guard to prevent His escape.
We know that's true because in John 10:18 the Redeemer plainly says in respect to His life: "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father."
Jesus willingly gave so we might have. How did the hymn writer describe this godly gift . . .
We are rich, for He was poor;
is not this a wonder?
Therefore praise God evermore
here on earth and yonder.
It is a wonder -- and to give thanks for that wonderful Gift so freely given, we pray:
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, for the great Gift of a Savior we give thanks. For being given the time and opportunity to reflect on His life and the changes He has brought about, our appreciation and gratitude. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries