Monday, November 8, 2021

A few years ago, two men named Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg wrote a book entitled Becoming a Contagious Christian.  The message of the book was a challenge for followers of Christ to live in a way that others would want to know Christ because of what they see or find in His people.  It offers guidance for people to talk about and live their faith in an authentic way so others will want to know Jesus in a personal way too.  We can develop a contagious faith that draws others into a desire to know Jesus and possibly even offer their lives to Him as well.  Influence is a powerful thing.  We can influence others positively or negatively.  Teens and students have to be aware of influences like peer pressure and blindly following a group.  Even adults have to be aware of guarding against unhealthy and toxic influences while welcoming good ones.
            A thankful spirit can be a contagious thing as well.  Our gratefulness and gratitude may well inspire others to grow in their sense of appreciation and thanksgiving.  If you have ever been around grateful people, you know just how refreshing their spirit and disposition can be.  They automatically lift up and inspire anyone close to them.  Proverbs 27:17 teaches us a principle of influence.  The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  The idea is we can be a good influence in the life of another person.  And people of mature, growing faith can be the kind of influences that we want to welcome into our lives as well.
            In this month devoted to thankfulness in spirit and the Thanksgiving holiday, now is a good time to evaluate how deeply gratitude has penetrated us and how widely it radiates from us.  If we profess to be Christians, we have every imaginable reason to be deeply grateful for what God has done for us.  We have been forgiven.  We have a secure eternity with the Lord.  We have the assurance that He is with us always.  We have His promise to provide for our every need.  This gratitude should radiate out from us like the rays of the sun.  We can pay our gratitude forward by blessing others.  Just as one piece of iron can sharpen another, one grateful Christian can influence countless others to be grateful too.  Let your gratitude be contagious.
            Children have much to teach us about thankfulness.  Most young children can rattle off a lengthy list of things for which they are grateful.  Sadly, as we get older, cynicism, pessimism and surliness can take over.  The once young and innocent sense of wonder and gratitude gives way to lesser feelings and sentiments.  Someone once said that the tongue is often the best portrait or likeness of the heart’s condition.  We tend to speak from what is inside us.  If we are captured by gratitude and thankfulness then our language will reflect such a thing.  And more than words, our lives will reflect our hearts.  Is there someone in your life that you could influence by your gratitude?  Could your thanksgiving contagiously influence someone else in a positive way?  
            Thanksgiving Day arrives in seventeen more days.  We have plenty of time to send a text, mail a note or send an email to offer our thanks to someone else and perhaps sharpen or inspire them to do likewise.  These seventeen days are fertile times where we can grow in gratitude and encourage others in their own growth.  You will
likely discover tremendous joy as you unleash a flow of thanks and gratitude toward the Lord and other people.  Take time to sharpen someone else’s gratitude by putting your gratitude to work and in action.  Proverbs 27:19 says, “as water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”  May our hearts be filled with gratitude and may that gratitude spill out in ways that bless others and bring glory to God who is the Giver of all good and perfect gifts! 
            Remember you can share our worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  And remember to stay on target with your tithes, offerings and gifts as we serve the community and world around us.  Have a great Monday!

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