Surely you crafted a Hand Turkey in your younger days. Perhaps your child or grandchild made one for you. Or maybe you created some other elementary artwork as well – a Christmas ornament made from an ashtray, a picture frame glued with glitter and macaroni, etc.
You worked hard on these crafts. Spent afternoons in a grade school classroom perfecting the placement of buttons and stickers onto an oddly adorned flower pot to give to your mother or father on a special occasion.
But these crafts weren’t art. You were 7 when you made them.
Your family loved them though. For a time they made you feel like Michelangelo for coming up with such a masterpiece.
Looking back, these are pretty paltry paintings, especially considering who they were made for. Most of our parents, if nothing else, put a roof over our head, fed us, clothed us, bathed us, and took care of us while we could not do it ourselves.
And to repay their tireless efforts we gave them Hand Turkeys?
We didn’t have jobs. We didn’t have money. Even if we saved up our allowances for years and popped our piggy banks open, we could never repay all our parents gave us.
Yet we yearned to give them something to express our gratitude. A Hand Turkey was the best we could do.
So with the help of teachers who needed to fill time before Thanksgiving break we created something. We gave back to our parents what meager contribution we could as our gesture of gratitude.
Much like the widow who offers the temple two tiny coins in Mark 12:41-44, we did not have much to lay down as an offering.
The widow’s two cents were meager in comparison to all God had given her. But Jesus was moved by her gracious and humble spirit.
We could never color in enough crafts to give back to our parents all they did for us. So how can we ever say thank you enough to God for his never-ending gifts, the depths of which we may never fully comprehend?
Thankfully, God does not need our thankfulness. God’s grace is not dependent on getting a thank you card afterward. We do not have to match his gifts with our own contributions of gratitude.
That’s because, as David recognized in this prayer from 1st Chronicles 29:13-17, any gift we give to God is truly nothing more than our regifting of something he first gave to us.
O God we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are our people that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you what you only first gave us…O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a temple to honor Your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! I know my God you examine our heart and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyfully.
When we realize that our thank-yous will never match God’s gifts, when we realize our gifts are as miniscule as hand turkeys, it is as much a blessing for us as it is for Him.
God wants us to be thankful in order to be comforted. God wants us to recognize that there is something greater than us at work in the universe.
He wants us to know that when our abilities do not match up to the task at hand, there is someone who will help us overcome. A gracious attitude and heart will empower us to not be overwhelmed by this world.
Anything worth saying Thank You for is not because of anyone but Him. And we should not be discouraged if all we can give back to him is something small like a hand turkey. Instead we should be encouraged by the strength of the one who is by our side always.
Will you give back to God today by creating something special for Him?
Today I challenge you to be a Living Hand Turkey – a humble creation of thankfulness in this world. Be the living embodiment of Philippians 4:4, rejoicing in The Lord always and giving back in thanksgiving whatever you have, for whatever that may be is truly enough.
Let’s hear it: what are you thankful for? Tell me 5 things you’re thankful for in the comments below. Share this post and let’s start a Thanksgiving Thread right here on the blog: