A Heart of Thanksgiving
Read Luke 6:43-49
Many years ago, a young boy and his family were forced to leave their home. At the tender age of seven, this little boy was made to go to work. When he was nine, he tragically lost his mother. For years, he worked hard as a store clerk, but suddenly lost that job when he was 20. The young man wanted to go to law school, but had no education. He went into debt when he was 23 to become a partner in a small store. It was only three years later that his business partner died, leaving him with a debt that took years to repay.
He dated a girl for four years and, at the age of 28, asked her to marry him. She turned him down flat. Thirty-seven years into his life, he was elected to the United States Congress... on his third try. He then failed to be re-elected. This man's son died when he was only four years old. At the age of 45, he ran for – and lost – a seat in the Senate. He persisted at politics and ran for the vice-presidency at the age of 47 – and lost. Finally, at the age of 51, this long-suffering man was elected President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln.
While the events leading up to his Presidency may surprise you, there’s one thing he did as President that goes completely against his disappointing upbringing. This dejected little boy, this broken and rejected sweetheart, this torn with grief father, and often defeated politician, did something that Americans still recognize today. From a heart that stood unburdened before God, Abraham Lincoln gave thanks and instituted a yearly holiday reminding the rest of the country to do the same. Thanksgiving. If thankfulness is in your heart, it will come out. And that's basically what we this reading this passage from Luke.
Jesus is still speaking to His disciples, giving them practical direction to successful living. Using the basic example of a tree producing fruit, Jesus drives home the underlying message of our need to start on the inside in order to see results on the outside.
A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say. Luke 6:45
In other words, whatever we're hiding in our hearts will not remain hidden for long. The Amplified Bible says that out of the abundance, or overflow, of the heart, the mouth speaks. Our words and deeds are just extensions of what is brewing deep inside.
You might say, well, you don't know what I've been through. With all the garbage that's been dumped on me, it’s only natural that some of it come out. Well, if that's your story, then you've just hit the nail on the head. You don't have to live with what's only natural. When dealing with matters of the heart, God offers you His supernatural.
The brutal dictator, Mussolini, was once quoted as saying that in order to succeed in life, “above all, keep your heart a desert!” God is saying just the opposite. In order to know real life, plunge your heart into His River. For from the Throne of God flows rivers of living, cleansing, reviving water, carrying you from your natural hopelessness into His supernatural Power.
No matter what you’ve been through in life, your heart need not remain a murky swamp of bitter memories and stale regrets. Allow God to unstop the dam and let His River rush through, washing you clean from the inside out.
And before you know it, the overflow from your heart… will look just like the overflow from His.