For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.
Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.
Fortune makes us complacent. As far back as ancient Israel, they understood that hardship fosters reliance and gratitude and that those attitudes are difficult to hang on to when times are good. Yet gratitude is the thing that keeps us connected to God and our better selves. [hear sermon audio]
This week, take some time to go deeper. Use these scriptures and questions to reflect on your own life and community.
Texts to read:
- Deuteronomy 6:10-11:32
Questions to ponder:
- What is the virtue of self-sufficiency?
- What is the danger of self-sufficiency?
- How can reliance on God and gratitude make us more attuned to the needs of others?
Do and share:
- Take a picture of something for which you are grateful and share it to our Facebook or Twitter(@dpumc) with the tag #ongoingthanks
- Start a “Gratitude Fund” in an envelope. Every time you buy a Christmas gift for your family put at least 10% of the cost into the envelope. The week of Christmas, use that money to bless someone in need.