To say that we “Owe everything to God” is an insult to the Spirit of Grace. He did it for us, and unlike most of us, expects no payment in return. It is true that real Grace produces thankfulness and humility, but it does not produce obligation.

Jackie Ramsey

Thankfulness vs. Obligation

This is the question that organized religion has posed for ages. The tension between obligation and thankfulness has been always been around.

My question is. “At what point to does thankfulness turn to obligation?”

Let’s start by defining obligation.

1. something by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things, and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.
2. something that is done or is to be done for such reasons:
to fulfill one's obligations.
3. a binding promise, contract, sense of duty, etc.
4. the act of binding or obliging oneself by a promise, contract, etc.
5. Law.
an agreement enforceable by law, originally applied to promises under seal.
a document containing such an agreement.
a bond containing a penalty, with a condition annexed for payment of money, performance of covenants, etc.
6. any bond, note, bill, certificate, or the like, as of a government or a corporation, serving as evidence of indebtedness.
7. an indebtedness or amount of indebtedness.

Let’s look at thankfulness

1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.
2. Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.

Really, obligation and thankfulness are two sides of a coin. Might I suggest that obligation is thankfulness under a veil of condemnation. Because of Christ’s work for us, as us, it should produce awareness and appreciation. It’s natural for us to feel that we “owe” God something, but He doesn’t expect us to owe Him anything. From our perspective we are “obligated” to give God our lives, but the obligation is one that should be birthed out of thankfulness and not condemnation.

Thankfulness bubbles up from our heart and is expressed in every area of our lives. On the contrary, anything done from obligation is handed over begrudgingly.

Flip the coin today and allow thankfulness to bubble up. Let your only obligation be to allow thankfulness to flourish.