On an isolated island nation, a missionary found the perfect illustration of generosity, the idea of giving with the whole heart. After teaching a lesson at a local school, she was surprised when a young boy walked up to her and handed her a beautiful shell as a gift.

The missionary looked at the ornate design on the shell and recognized it as a shell which could only be found on the other side of the island. It would have taken hours to reach the exclusive spot by foot. When the missionary mentioned this to the little boy, he smiled and said, “Long walk part of gift.” He spared nothing to show his beloved teacher how much he appreciated her.

Gratitude is not based on a feeling. Rather, it flows from a thankful heart which expresses itself in selfless actions. A grateful person doesn’t measure the cost of his gift, but expends his time, energy, and resources to enhance its value. Such a person gives without thought of return.

Are you a grateful person? How far are you willing to go to show your gratitude? God doesn’t ask us to do this through big things. Simple, thoughtful things can have the same effect. You might not have to walk halfway around an island for another person, but you can leave a voicemail or Post-It note saying, “Thanks for all you do. I’m praying for you.” You can offer to babysit a friend’s children while she takes her husband out for dinner.

When we show gratitude by our giving, the possibilities are infinite, and the effect is priceless. Ask God to help you show your gratitude to others throughout this week.

Would you like to know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most . . . but it is he who is always thankful to God, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it. — William Law

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.