Thursday, May 5, 2011


"How," Ann Voskamp wondered, "do we find joy in the midst of deadliness, debt, drama, and daily duties?  What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark?  What is God providing here and now?"

Eucharisteo, eucharisteo, eucharisteo.

What is eucharisteo?  I had the same question. The majority of the following words are Ann Voskamp's.  Before you read, please find a quiet, uninterrupted moment to let these words penetrate your heart, for they will require much thought.

"And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..."  -Luke 22:19 (emphasis mine)  Not long before Jesus willingly gave His life for us, what did he do?  He gave thanks.  Gave thanks? 

Heavy with grief deeper than I've ever experienced and questioning the real purpose of her life, Ann Voskamp discovers that in the original Greek language, "he gave thanks" is translated eucharisteo.  Broken down, the Greek words that make up eucharisteo literally mean grace, thanksgiving, joy.

In her wisdom, Ann unveils...
Grace, thanksgiving, joy = eucharisteo

 Ann searches through the Bible and finds that "Eucharisteo - thanksgiving - always precedes the miracle."  For example, Jesus gave thanks to God before He raised Lazarus (John 11:41 NIV), He gave thanks to God as he took some bread the night before He was crucified (1 Corinthians 11:23-24), and in another instance Jesus gave thanks to God when no one was responding to His teaching (Matthew 11:25 KJV).

She continues, "Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall - humanity's discontent with all that God freely gives.  That is what has scraped me raw: ungratefulness."   Later, "If our fall was the non-eucharisteo, the ingratitude, then salvation must be intimately related to eucharisteo, the giving of thanks."

Psalm 50:23 states, "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."

And her conclusion (read carefully as this is the pinnacle!), "The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God - even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer and crucifixion - this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him.  At the Eucharist, Christ breaks His heart to heal ours - Christ, the complete accomplishment of our salvation.  And the miracle of eucharisteo never ends: thanksgiving is what precedes the miracle of that salvation being fully worked out in our lives.  Thanksgiving - giving thanks in everything - is what prepares the way for salvation's whole restoration.  Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks.  In everything?  I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life."

Ann quotes Albert Schweitzer, "The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything.  He who has learned this knows what it means to live....He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything."

But wait, there's even more!!

The beauty of eucharisteo, as said by Ann,

"Christian hands never clasp,
and He doesn't give gifts for gain
because a gift can never stop being a gift -
it is always meant to be given."

Ann shares that giving thanks is a verb, something you do.  I love this, "Eucharisteo is the hand that opens to receive grace, then, with thanks, breaks the bread; that moves out into the larger circle of life and washes the feet of the world with that grace.  Without the breaking and giving, without the washing of feet, eucharisteo isn't complete.  The Communion service is only complete in service.  Communion, by necessity always leads us into community."

And later, "I am blessed.  I can bless.  Imagine!  I could let Him make me the gift!  I could be the joy!"

Even in the daily tasks of life such as laundry, ironing, emptying the dishwasher, and dusting, my heart's song must become that of thanksgiving to God as I serve Him by serving others!  Colossians 3:23 reminds us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

Thank you, God, for reminding me of the greater purpose my seemingly unimportant daily tasks have in your eyes!  May I become the gift as I bless others in  your name!

And Ann concludes, "Eucharisteo!  It really might be the mystery to the fullest life..."

Still have unanswered questions?  Want to go a bit deeper?  I just found this post and you may find it helpful; I did.

1 comment:

  1. I love this line, "Communion, by necessity always leads us into community." I'm excited to walk with you on this journey Katie. Thank you for your heart and your words.