When Thanksgiving Becomes Thanksliving …
The Farmer and I traveling with Compassion to Ecuador, slipped into our beds here in Quito this morning at 2 am after a day of travelling… us carrying this story from home and all the preparing to go, carrying it out now into the Ecuador streets… Thank you for traveling with us in these posts this week and taking the time to pray over the children…
When she pulls on the string it looks like the yarn’s coming out of the earth, her sitting on a high back chair, her bare toes digging the dirt.
“It will be a long scarf….”
Hope says this, her needles moving in and around and through and off, and this is her rhythm on the grass and in the wind, the poetry of a God who uses everything.
“Lidia will wear her long purple scarf and she’ll know.” Hope will send the scarf with us to Ecuador to the sponsored child she picked out. There are maple leaves, flamed and torched, across the grass.
Hope doesn’t look up at me but says it like she is saying it to the yarn, like she’s sending it with a message, knotting truth.
“Lidia will know ….” Her fingers are moving fast, the yarn moving through her tips, like a flowing out of her, through her.
“She’ll know that I am giving me.”
Lidia in Ecuador, born only 4 weeks after Hope, born high and far from sea in Quito and introduced through Compassion, and Hope with her knitting needles and those words that Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “for I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord.” (2 Cor. 8:1-4, 8)
This is the testament on the front lawn.
“… their abundance of joy, and their extreme poverty, have overflowed in a wealth of generosity.” That is what Paul wrote of the Macedonians to the Corinthians.
An abundance of joy is possible in an environment of material lack — because God Himself never runs out and it’s in His presence is fullness of joy. Those without much can overflow with this abundant joy in His abundant grace — and overflow into a wealth of generosity.
Hope knits on the lawn in November light, yarn through her fingers, this giving of herself.
Kingdom Math, it is just this: Deep poverty materially — plus abundant joy spiritually — equals a wealth of giving generously.
Strange, this, but that is what holy writ says, “their abundance of joy, and their extreme poverty, have overflowed in a wealth of generosity.”
Is this how believers are knit together? It’s the witness of Paul: God’s people extend themselves — to extend the grace of God. The Christ-people just can’t help it.
Their generous giving is an extension of their joy in grace upon grace of God.
The light across the lawn, it’s like this extravagant tipping, a spilling, on Hope, on the grass, on the yarn all tying everything together. And the ways of God, they are like wind and they are like leaves falling and they are from another place, turning everything upside down.
And when Hope comes into the house to knit more rows, she sits on the floor and it’s written on a plaque of wood right over the fireplace mantle, just two words: give thanks – and I watch how she knits from even the shadowed places, a gathering up of exactly what is –
strands of dark…
these threads of light.
And thanksgiving only becomes thanksliving when joy in the blessings given from above — overflows into the blessings given all around.
Thanksgiving only becomes thanksliving when the thanks for His vertical, coming-down grace — is expressed as a horizontal, reaching-out grace.
Thanksgiving only becomes thanksliving — when thanksgiving to God overflows into a joy of giving.
The joy of giving thanks – is ultimately expressed in the joy of giving.
“It is long enough now.” Hope stands up. That half smile, it’s her father’s. She wraps it around her to see and it will be a bit of herself, the best of her, that she gives.
“Isn’t it beautiful, Mom?” She’s laughing happy now. Spinning and laughing and giddy and giving is always this good.
“Lidia will know.” She’s looking down at all her rows. She can’t stop running her hands across all her stitches. “Lidia will know that I love.”
And the yarn, it falls through her fingers, an extending, a running over and a grace overflowing….
Right through those fingers wearing that silver ring etched with the letters — Hope.
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.
They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor.
But they are also filled with abundant joy,
which has overflowed in rich generosity.
For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.
They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing… ~ 2 Cor. 8:1-4
Might you take just one moment this morning to pray over one of the children here in need in Ecuador? Just a moment to pray over one child — that their needs would be met through one person making their thanksgiving to God — into thanksliving for God…. and all His wondrous children.