Have you ever given something to someone you knew (or thought) was perfect for them, yet days and weeks later you saw no sign of it? What did you want to do—ask them about it or ask for it back?

How are you handling the gift Jesus gave you, recently or several years ago? Is it like a present from the past—broken, shoved away in some closet, doesn’t fit anymore or lost? Or do you wear it thankfully and gratefully each day like the first day you received it?

Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit (Matthew 21:43).

Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 3:10).

We have received the most wonderful gift to which we are all thankful; however, I have discovered being thankful is not enough.

As I struggle this month to complete a project, start a new one to finish before the end of the year, as well as face a list of many other “things” I want to get done before the holidays, I need to slow down, or in my case, I have to stop and reevaluate what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. Unless my actions are showing gratitude for what I received and producing fruit, what good is it?

This may be a season of thankfulness, but our lives should be in a perpetual season of gratefulness.

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to cydmg@yahoo.com.