One of my former students has been in touch with me on a regular basis. He is full of positive energy and learned the power of gratitude at a young age. He is aware that most of his peers take things for granted and he is doing his best to show the silver lining in clusters of clouds and teach people that there is so much to be grateful for. He inspires me and he pushes me to be the best encourager I can be. Understanding the power of gratitude in the Christian context is understanding that Jesus is the One who does everything good and we should thank Him for His goodness that is greater than the world’s bitterness. Jesus takes the sourness of the world and turns it into a dish of delicate and delicious fruit. There is a table He lays before us and with the power of gratitude we have access to everything that is on that amazing table. If we whine and complain, we turn down the beautiful spread the Lord has prepared for us . I want to feast at the table of the Lord and remain seated there as long as I can. Gratitude is the ticket that gets me through the door and that affords me a seat at that table. Gratitude combined with faith makes the table accessible. I don’t want to live my life eating sour grapes. I want the succulent fruit of the Spirit to be in the basket I carry around. It’s one thing to have the fruit and it’s another thing to have it and be grateful for it. Today I want to encourage you to turn up the volume of your gratitude and silence the whining and the complaining. There is always one thing in your life that you can be thankful for. If you have running water, a family, friends, transportation, a pulse, a smile, ideas, hope, and a mind that thinks and reflects, you can be grateful. Gratitude goes for small things and great things. Experience transformation in your life when gratitude toward the Lord is a lifestyle.
The question is, what are you grateful for today? Are you grateful for material things? For spiritual abilities and blessings? For family and friends? These are all great reasons to be thankful but the One Person we should be thankful for every day is Jesus. Just because He is Jesus. Isn’t He the most wonderful Person you have ever met? Have you met Him? You have. He is around you and with you. Look at your life. Look at what He has done. Look at what He can do. Look at how good He is. No one has had as much impact on my life as Jesus has and I am so grateful for Him. He is the One Person that has changed me so much. He has made my life so much better. I am nothing, absolutely nothing without Him. When I think of that I have many reasons to be thankful. It’s not about possessions. It’s not about goods. It’s all about Jesus. Being grateful for Jesus is being grateful for Love, for the Word of God, for resurrection, for salvation, for freedom and for a new life. Gratitude toward God the creator should precede gratitude toward the creation.
David the psalmist and king knew how to show gratitude toward God. He did it through music and songs and through a lifestyle that spoke highly of who God is. Gratitude works hand in hand with honor and respect and if we are going to show gratitude toward the Lord we can’t forget to honor Him and to show Him respect. It’s time we put Jesus on a pedestal and removed all the idols in our lives that are getting first place in our hearts. Gratitude and honor are what makes us get closer to our perfect Savior. God’s love and goodness endure forever. That alone is a reason to be thankful. His love won’t stop when you mess up. His goodness won’t vanish once you have gone down the wrong path. They are here to stay and they will never go away. We honor the Lord by continuing to live our lives in Him. Let’s show gratitude by showing respect for the Lord and imitating Him, turning to Him, acknowledging Him in all we do, seeking His face and putting Him before our needs. Devote yourself to the Lord and gratitude is one way you can get there. Gratitude toward God is a great way to live!
Suggested reading: Psalm 118:1; Colossians 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:28-29