It’s been said, "Thanksgiving, to be truly thanksgiving, is first thanks, then giving."
You probably know how to be thankful, but perhaps you may think that you have nothing to offer anyone, nothing to give. But this is not true for any Christian. God gifts all of his children when he imparts his grace. These giftings are given in order to spread his grace even further.
One gift everyone has been given is the ability to comfort others. Comfort means, among other things, "to soothe in time of affliction or distress, to ease physically or relieve, to help or give assistance." The word is rooted in a French word that means "to strengthen.”
Every human being has the capacity to provide some form of comfort to another human being. Whether it be a foot rub or a kind word or a plate of food or a gift of money or a hug or a cookie or something else entirely.
How can you know what your special comfort capacity is? A clue is offered in 2 Corinthians 1:3-8: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort" (ESV).
Look to the troubles, distresses, suffering, hurts you have experienced in your life to discover your capacity for comforting others. These tender spots in your heart are the sources for offering encouragement, caring, and help to those around you in need.
Thank God for the troubles you have endured and for the pain he has walked you through since now you are able to give, to minister to others going through where you have already been.
That’s true thanksgiving!