Gratitude is the Debtor’s Gift

It’s always a somber moment when the cup and bread is passed down the aisle. Before the bread breaches our lips, we read from Scripture, “this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). Before the wine drips onto our tongues, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Cor. 11:25). It is a meaningful moment.

Eucharist, the liturgical word for what most of us call Communion, carries over from the Greek which means “the giving of thanks.” When we engage in Communion, we are participating in the highest act of thanksgiving for the greatest benefit from God—the sacrifice of His Son. Indeed, while all people of the world have reason to be grateful, Christ followers have the preeminent reason.

We are all born in iniquity (Ps. 51:5) and fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). We are estranged from the Lord (Ps. 58:3). “None is righteous, no, not one,” the Bible tells us (Rom. 3:10). “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:12). We are condemned before God (Rom. 6:23) and unable to make things right (Jn. 6:44). We have inescapable guilt.

But God, “who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5). God did not want us to remain estranged from Him, so He “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). On that cross, the great substitution occurred. Our sin was put on Christ and His righteousness was put on us. It was a death for life. “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). We have underserved grace.

The most reasonable response to this reality is eucharist. We were born in sin, destined for eternity in hell. Yet, because of God’s rich mercy, we were reborn in righteousness, destined for eternity in heaven. Grace is a timeless gift for a timeless need. God’s infinite grace healed our infinite guilt which propels infinite thanks. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss put it: “Undeniable guilt, plus underserved grace, should equal unbridled gratitude.”

It’s simple math. Eternal guilt plus eternal grace equals eternal gratitude. While we might find reasons to thank those around us for the temporal things of life that bring us joy and happiness, God’s work extends time. His grace is infinite because He is infinite. Our gratitude should have no limits because His grace has no limits.

“Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.” (Psalm 36:5-6)

Measureless gratitude is the heart’s answer back to the Lord who gives measureless grace. God is the infinite source of grace. So it has no ends. His cup of grace never runs dry. It is always full and always flowing. For this reason, the gratitude that flows out of your life will never amount to the grace that flowed into your life. You will always owe God more gratitude. You will never thank Him enough.

In the words of Oswald Chambers, “The thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin.” Gratitude is the eucharist of life. It is the debtor’s gift to the God who gave first.

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