Awhile back I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and came upon a post of a complete stranger I follow who works with kids in China. I couldn’t tell you what that post was about now but I do remember writing down something she said in the middle of it. “Faith gives thanks in the middle of the story. The practice of eucharisteo. That no matter our circumstances, our story, or what the future may hold, we can always give thanks.”
Ann Voskamp often uses the word eucharisteo in her work. She explains it in this Q&A article by Theology of Work as, “Eucharisteo—it comes right out of the Gospel of Luke: 'And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…' Luke 22:19 NIV. In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.” To really drive the meaning home, Ann goes on to say, “The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be a gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning 'joy.'”
For weeks after I learned what that word meant I wondered often, how does this look tangibly in my life? While I know there can be several, I think one of the best ways I’ve seen this practically is through people. Community. Sharing in joys, burdens, and overall life together. In the seasons where I find it hard to see God’s plans, I need my people to point out the goodness that is found in my story. To hear the proclamations of God’s people over my life can’t help but inspire thankfulness in my own heart to the Lord. I believe deep eucharisteo can happen in the heart of community. We see this happen when Jesus does prepare the bread and wine for and with his people, and we as believers know that this in fact goes even deeper through the very act of Communion.
Press deep into the people around you. Let the gift and grace of our brothers and sisters create in you the practice of eucharisteo. Be someone who actively calls that out in others so that they too can see all of the Lord’s goodness in their life and be able to give thanks even if it’s in the middle of the story. May we be people who live out Psalm 34 deeply together, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”