Monday, November 23, 2020

Returning Thanks

By David A. Sargent

     Many years ago two boys were working their way through Stanford University. Their funds got desperately low, and the idea came to them to engage Paderewski, the great Polish pianist, for a piano recital. They would use the funds to help pay their board and tuition.  The great pianist’s manager asked for a guarantee of $2,000. The guarantee was a lot of money in those days, but the boys agreed and proceeded to promote the concert. They worked hard, only to find that they had grossed only $1,600.
     After the concert the two boys told the great artist the bad news. They gave him the entire $1,600, along with a promissory note for $400, explaining that they would earn the amount at the earliest possible moment and send the money to him. It looked like the end of their college careers.
     “No, boys,” replied Paderewski, “that won’t do.” Then, tearing the note in two, he returned the money to them as well. “Now,” he told them, “take out of this $1,600 all of your expenses, and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work. Let me have the rest.”
     The years rolled by -- World War I came and went. Paderewski, now Premier of Poland, was striving to feed thousands of starving people in his native land. There was only one man in the world who could help him - he was in charge of the U.S. Food and Relief Bureau. He quickly agreed to help and soon thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland.
     After the starving people were fed, Paderewski journeyed to Paris to thank the man for the relief he had sent....
“That’s all right, Mr. Paderewski,” was his reply. “Besides, you don’t remember it, but you helped me once when I was a student at college, and I was also in trouble.”  The man’s name? Herbert Clark Hoover, 31st President of the United States of America.” *
     Paderewski, with great generosity and kindness, was able to help a couple of struggling college students. Years later, one of those college students was able to say “Thank you” by assisting Paderewski and his people in a great time of need.  It is a wonderful thing to be able to return thanks for a noble action done on behalf of another.
     Friend, something has been done for YOU!  You didn’t ask for it, but you desperately needed it.  It happened long before you were born, but you may still benefit greatly by the action of a loving, generous Person.
     "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Because of OUR grievous condition due to our sin, the kind and loving Heavenly Father gave us His Son to die on the cross for our sins (Romans 5:8).  Because of this great Sacrifice, we may have forgiveness from our sins (Ephesians 1:7) and the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
     How can we return thanks for this indescribable Gift and receive those blessings?  By our humble submission to His will: believing and trusting Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).  Then we can continue to show our gratitude by seeking to live obediently to His will for the rest of our lives (John 14:15).
     Friend, a great thing has been done for you: Jesus died for you so that you might live.  Won’t YOU “return thanks”  by giving your life to Him?

* Bits & Pieces, August 22, 1991
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

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