I often write about gratitude. I believe it should be adopted as a lifestyle and it should be maintained against all odds. Gratitude toward God is a form of respect and a form of great appreciation. Showing God that we enjoy Him and we love all that He is and all that He does is a powerful way to be. It beats being negative and ending up on whining street on the corner of complaint avenue and bitter road. A positive attitude paves the way for blessings. God is a positive God and imitating His positivity opens doors of blessings. The other morning while I was praying, the Lord was telling me about how gratitude is a key that does open those doors of blessings. It is also a key that is too often forgotten. We put it on a shelf thinking that we will pick it up sometime and then time passes and some doors stay locked and untouched. He had a sweet comforting message about gratitude and He encouraged me to express gratitude not only to Him but to other people in my life. There is power in hearing that someone is grateful for you. When you hear that what you did or said was a blessing to someone else, something gets ignited on the inside. It’s not meant to give us a reason to brag but it gives us a boost and it conveys love. When we show gratitude, we show love. That is a wonderful occurrence.
We are supposed to walk in love all the time as Christians and expressing gratitude toward others helps us touch lives with God’s love. I have recently started emailing some students and copying their parents on the emails. The emails are designed to let the students know how much I appreciate their effort, their hard work or their striving to be good citizens in my classroom. I have also told them how thankful I was to have them as my students. Those emails have paid off. The classes that had students with some behavior issues are some of my favorite classes now. I don’t just express gratitude through emails. I don’t hesitate to tell them in person how grateful I am during the school day. I base it on even small things. When a student helps another student carry his or her stuff. When someone does his or her homework all the time. I believe it is important to recognize all good things, big or small. They are great opportunities to show God’s love and let someone know that they are not invisible but their effort and their good character are being noticed. Whether the student is a star or a nightmare, I find ways to express gratitude.
Gratitude comes with love and everyone deserves love. God wants to bless the people that we think are a mess. Gratitude goes a long way. It comes from the heart of God and it goes all the way down to the heart of those we have a hard time loving. It’s like a gentle push toward God when our mind and flesh want to side with the enemy. It would be so easy to not treat some people nicely just because we think they are a mess or they are not worthy. Being grateful for anyone is being able to show God to anyone. How powerful it is to be able to tell someone “thank you” instead of “I don’t like you.” I am not saying we should be fake but I am saying that we should find something that we can be thankful for in others. Thank God for all the people in your life. Thank Him for the opportunity to introduce Him to them through love. Gratitude goes a long way. Let God’s love pave the way to people’s hearts. Be grateful all the time and your heart will beat in unison with the Lord’s heart.
Suggested reading: Psalm 118:1; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 4:2