LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION ARTICLE FOR
November 14, 2015 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129
Anonymous giving is appropriate in cases where there is no direct relationship between gift and giver. Charitable giving is often anonymous because the giver wants no accolades from anyone. They simply want to meet a need that they perceive requires attention. However, where there is a relationship between the recipient and the giver the gift is an expression of that relationship and needs to be appreciated. It not only expresses the relationship but strengthens and nurtures that bond.
When the Apostle Paul is discussing the spiritual state of the Greco/Roman world he says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him (Rom. 1:21).” When Paul is conversing with some philosophers of Athens he quotes Epimenides of Crete, a hymn writer from about 600 BC who wrote in a hymn to Zeus, “In him we live and have our being.” He also sites Aratus (315 – 240 BC), a Stoic poet who observes “For we are indeed his offspring.” Paul is aware that the true God is not a stranger to the minds of these idol worshipers. They simply suppressed this knowledge and worshiped the creation rather than the Creator.
The God of the Bible is not an anonymous giver. Neither is he a God who has no relationship with mankind whom he created in his own image for fellowship with himself. This is beautifully expressed in Psalm 100.
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Unlike some religions of the world the God of the Bible tells us who he is. He reveals to us his nature. He expects our thanksgiving and praise. This reality is thoughtfully expressed by Benjamin Franklin in his “Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion.” “And forasmuch as ingratitude is one of the most odious of vices, let me not be unmindful gratefully to acknowledge the favors I receive from heaven…For all Thy innumerable benefits; For life and reason, and the use of speech, for health and joy and every pleasant hour, my good God, I thank Thee.”
Henry Wilson was Vice-President under Ulysses S. Grant. In December of 1866 he was speaking at Natick, Massachusetts to the Young Men’s Christian Association. Part of his speech included the following advice.
“Remember ever, and always, that your country was founded, not by the ‘most superficial, the lightest, the most irreflective of all European races,’ but by the stern old Puritans who made the deck of the Mayflower an altar of the living God, and whose first act on touching the soil of the new world was to offer on bended knee thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
“Lest we forget.”
(Bill Scarle can be contacted at email@example.com) END-whs