There are times that we would like to express our profound gratitude to God for His faithfulness, mercy, and loving-kindness but do not know how best to do it. Many organizations and individuals prefer to host thanksgiving programs with prayers, songs, and feasting to celebrate the goodness of God.
Some other organizations and individuals give thanks to God through charity. Some visit the fatherless, prisons, old people's homes, and internally displaced people's camps. They bring gifts, while others send their donations. These kind gestures are ways of saying, "Thank you Jesus."
The above examples of showing thanks to God are commendable and scriptural, but in all charity work, we should add evangelism as part of the ways through which we give thanks to God. We are aware of the enormous joy that would be provoked in Heaven if one soul is added to the kingdom of God (Luke15:7).
The heart desire of God is that the knowledge of His glory should fill the earth as waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). I strongly believe that God will be highly delighted if the knowledge of His glory is expanded to people who have not known Him. Soul-winning should be an integral part of Thanksgiving if we want to provoke tremendous joy in Heaven.
The mandate of the Great Commission is so important to Christ that He mentioned it as His parting words to His disciples in the Gospels (Mathew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-47, John 20:21), and Act of Apostles (Acts 1:8). We are all saved to work for the salvation of others, but many of us have forgotten and neglected this heavenly assignment. In a time of thanksgiving when we are supposed to soberly reflect on what God has done for us and how best to give Him thanks, we should remember this assignment because obedience is better than sacrifice.
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Samuel is saying that it is good to give but it is better to obey God's command. It is also important to remember that the Bible says that disobedience is tantamount to the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).
The Great Commission was expressly stated by Christ as a command; it is not an appeal, nor is it an option to be considered by Christians. Obedience to God should be seen as an expression of our love for Him. Jesus enjoined His followers to prove their love for Him by obeying His commands "If you love me, keep my commands" (John 14:15). I believe that in a time like this, when we count our blessings and want to express our gratitude to God, we should remember the very things that touch God most — soul winning.
There are three main ways that we can be involved in missions work:
- We can go and labor in the mission fields
- We can send missionaries to the fields and support them financially
- We can hold lifelines for missionaries through prayers. If anyone feels that getting involved in these three ways would be hectic, he can choose any of the three and be committed to it. If our God is a missionary God, then God's people should also be missionary people.
Diaspora Missiology which is complementary to Conventional Missiology is a concept with strategies that can be used to reach the unreached who have migrated to cities and towns. Believers can conveniently get involved in Diaspora Mission Project that has advantages over the conventional Missiology — it is less expensive, the risk involved is very minimal, missionaries are not expected to travel to mission fields abroad, there are no cultural and geographical barriers and it can be carried out individually.
Love and gratitude are expressed in giving. As we are coming to the end of the year, and as we are counting our blessings, let us be mindful that God gave us His only begotten son for the salvation of humanity. We can only reciprocate this great love of God toward us by ensuring that the blood which was shed on the cross of Calvary is not a waste on many who do not have the opportunity of hearing about Jesus. He died to save all, and without our effort to reach others, many will be condemned eternally.
This Thanksgiving season let us remember that there are billions of people who cannot say "Thank you Jesus" because they do not know Him and have not heard of Him. We should resolve to do our best to demonstrate our gratitude for all His loving kindness and mercy towards us by making His Gospel more widely known this year. May His kingdom grow in our presence this Thanksgiving. Amen!