“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Thankful for the Old Tree, by Randall D. Kittle

There is a tale that has been told for many years of an elderly man who lived in the city of Jericho some 2,000 years ago. It was quite a mystery, every morning at sunrise the old and humble man would go out and walk in the fields and return later with a broad smile upon his face. His wife began to wonder where he went and what gave him such joy. And so, she decided to follow him one day. As she watched, she saw him fill a large jug with water, and then, after carrying it for a short distance, he poured it on the roots of an old tree. After seeing this she understood perfectly what gave her husband such joy. For you see, her husband’s name was Zacchaeus, and the tree he watered each day was the one he had climbed many years before in order to see Jesus. His gratitude for that experience was so great that he found joy in helping keep alive and green that old tree — the instrument of God’s grace.

This is the same grateful response that all believers should possess and practice. Do you and I display the same humble attitude of thanksgiving? The joy that Jesus Christ has taken our old lives and made us a new creation should fill our hearts with gratitude. Psalm 103:2 says this,
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Are we those who, like Zacchaeus, remember continually and with kind fondness the goodness of God’s grace, or have we forgotten all of His benefits?

While it is certain that we will experience days when we don’t feel thankful, we can determine to say “Thank You, Lord” even when we don’t feel like it. If we will plant the seeds of thanksgiving in our hearts, the water of God’s Word will keep them alive. Over and again the Scriptures exhort us to have thankful hearts toward the Lord. Ephesians 5:20 tells us to be,
“giving thanks always for all things to God the Father.” But as believers, we shouldn’t have to be commanded to be thankful. Thanksgiving should be the natural outflow of every believer’s heart if we will only step back and look at the mercy and kindness God has so richly lavished upon us.

No matter what our circumstances, we can find a reason to be thankful. Let gratitude blossom in your life wherever you are planted. Some of you may find yourself in a family crisis or uncomfortable work situation in which it’s hard to be thankful. Yet it is possible to be thankful wherever you find yourself. Psalm 116:17 exhorts us to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord. Being thankful to God even in the midst of our current circumstance is not hypocrisy or denial, it is a sacrificial offering to our Lord and Savior to whom we are eternally grateful.

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