All of Grace (Pt 1)
What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
I think many of us try to answer this question by responding, "All kinds of things!! For starters, my education - I studied hard; spent many sleepless nights writing papers; busted my rear end to get my degree. My job - I logged the hours; I went the extra mile; I put in the overtime; I did what no one else wanted to; I got the promotion. My stuff - no one else spent their money to buy me a house; my car was bought and paid for by me; I watch my TV at night; I pay the internet bill."
If we don't say it outright, I think we at least feel it. I don't think Paul would deny the toil and effort we've put in (see 1 Corinthians 15:10 and Colossians 1:29), but he's also calling us to look further into the accomplishments and see a deeper source. Where did you get the brain able to learn, grow, and retain knowledge? From where did the opportunity for a good education come? What did you do to establish an economy which affords you a job? Who upholds your body with the health and strength you have to work?
The answer to these questions: God.
Everyone has to have someone to thank. You'll either thank yourself while wrongly assuming you are the ultimate source for everything you have, or you'll thank someone outside of yourself. Prideful people say 'thank you' to no one. Humble people are thankful people.
Paul follows up this question with another one: "If then you received it, why do you boast as though you did not?" There is no room for bragging, to ourselves or others, before God. As our ultimate source for all good things (James 1:17), he deserves our constant "thank you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Everything you have comes from God. Everything. Say 'thank you' to him, then turn to those he's used in your life to pour out grace on you and say a heartfelt 'thank you' to them too.