True Gratitude

Our flight from Nairobi’s JKIA Airport to Mauritius Tuesday night was delayed by one hour, and, added to the normal check-in delays at our destination airport, we arrived at the Trianon conference hall when Brother Miki was halfway through his message. But the first words I heard him speak as I entered the auditorium were so powerful that even as I sat down I was already trembling.

He was sharing about how grateful we need to be to the Lord for the Gospel of the revelation of the Cross of Jesus and for what it has done for our lives. We need to have the joy of the Lord always in our lives. The person whose sins have been forgiven is the only truly happy man in this world!

But he said something else that equally shook me: that we cannot be grateful to God for the Gospel and at the same time have hard, bitter and unforgiving hearts towards one another.

This led me to think about the story of the servant who was forgiven much by his master, but who would not forgive his fellow servant a very little amount that the latter owed him, but had him thrown in prison (Mat 18:21-35). This man’s heart was rotten to the core. When the master heard what had transpired he was filled with indignant wrath and had the unforgiving servant put into jail until he had paid the last farthing!

For many of us it is not always easy to even rejoice in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus; how much harder it is to forgive, love and give our lives to one another! And yet, this is the very challenge we are called to answer to in our Christian lives.

Sometimes we have all the peace and joy in the world – until a certain brother or sister’s name is mentioned in our presence, then we find ourselves losing our joy. Why is this so? It is simply because we are not carrying our cross and following Jesus.

Some Christians are grateful for the gospel, but for all the unimportant reasons. ‘Thank you, Lord, for giving me a wife; thank you for my new car; thank you for a job; thank you for this and that material thing.’ I am not saying that God has a problem with that.

But the Apostle Paul thanked God for the cross because it crucified his flesh. That way, he was able to walk in the fullness of the life of God – and we know God is love. As he walked in the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ, he had no place in his heart for the flesh, the world, nor for the devil. On the contrary the love of God and His holy nature shone forth in his life.

If we understand the spiritual nature of our calling, I believe we can agree with Brother Miki that we need to thank God for the Gospel of the Cross…. and be willing to pay the price that is needed to make that gratefulness a reality in our lives!

Alas! how easy it is for me to pen down these words! But they mean nothing if I am not ready to allow the work of the cross in my life. Even now, I kneel down before my Father in heaven and pray for His grace to live out this life. Without Him I am nothing.Imagerue

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