Gratefulness is a posture of the heart more than the result of our circumstances.
There are lots of things we can be thankful for this 2018.
There’s always something to thank God for. Always.
But the moment I say that, I know that there will be those who will say, “What about this failure? How about the unanswered prayer? My mom has cancer! How can I be thankful when my parents are not together?”
Here is something I’ve realized:
“Gratefulness is a posture of the heart more than the result of our circumstances.”
Reason? If my gratefulness is based on circumstances, then it will change from day to day because not every situation is the same. I have good days and I have bad days.
In Luke 17, Jesus healed the 10 lepers. They were considered outcasts because they had leprosy. The moment they had it, they were instructed to go out the city gates so that they don’t contaminate the rest of the community. And every time they would be near people, they have to shout, “Unclean! unclean!” to warn people that they are there.
They cried out for mercy and asked Jesus to heal them. And Jesus did. They were told to go and show themselves to the priests for they would be the ones who could certify if they had been cleared.
As they were on their way to the priests, they were healed. It was an act of faith on their part. Obedience actually is exactly that – an act of faith. Obedience is difficult. It goes against the grain of our nature. If it was easy, then everyone would do it.
But when one of the ten realized he was healed, he went back to give thanks to Jesus.
As we end this 2018, allow me to suggest three points of application.
1. Cultivate a lifestyle of gratefulness.
There is always something to thank God for. Always.
We can always think of something to grumble about. But a grateful heart is the antidote to a grumbling heart.
Recently, I started going back to writing on a paper journal as compared to journaling on my Evernote. I would endeavor to write at least 3 things to thank God for each morning. It helps me to reflect the events the past 24 hours and helps me cultivate a grateful heart. I’ve observed that though I just target writing 3, I end up writing much more than that.
Try it out.
2. Articulate your gratefulness every opportunity you get.
Look for at least one person each day to say thank you to. You’ll see that it does your soul well when you articulate thanksgiving.
You can articulate it by telling them face to face or you can even do it by sending a message via SMS or an online platform.
3. Worship God no matter what.
There will always be things that you wish happened that didn’t. There are events that you wish that didn’t happen but they did. Paul encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. We are not to give thanks FOR all circumstances but to give thanks IN all circumstances.
Happy New Year everyone!
I had an insightful meeting with a friend who I look up to even though he is much younger.
David and I met at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Bonifacio High Street.
As the conversation progressed, the topic of entitlement crept up.
Entitlement is believing the world owes you something just because you exist.
Several things happen when we have this sense of entitlement.
1. We demand.
Because we think the world owes us a favor for existing, we demand things to our favor.
“You need to serve me.”
“You should be glad I even showed up to your party.”
“You have to appreciate all I do for you.”
“You have to meet my needs because I am God’s gift to you.”
I realize that we may not articulate it the way I’ve written it but in some shape or form, it sounds that way.
2. We complain.
Because you owe me for being your friend, spouse, boss, brother, sister, parent, pastor, small group leader, coach, then if you don’t deliver what I expect you to deliver, then I am disappointed.
If you don’t meet my expectations, then I am frustrated to the point of grumbling.
3. We become ungrateful.
Gratefulness is our number 1 weapon against grumbling.
But because you owe me for my existence, then nothing you do will satisfy my craving for being served.
Because I should be the center of your world, then all that you do pales in comparison to my expectations.
Thus, we become ungrateful.
Here’s the truth, just in case you don’t know it yet: the world DOES NOT owe us a favor.
We have what we have because Someone provided, gave, sustained and helped.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thes. 5:18)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)
give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Ps. 107:1)
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. (Heb. 12:28)
Just wanted to see if you guys might be up for the challenge.
List down 24 names of people who you are thankful for – people who have helped you, been an awesome friend to you, coached you, mentored you, prayed for you, or helped you during a very difficult situation in your life.
You can tweet (use hashtag #25daysofgratitude), post on Facebook or text that person. Since there’s probably lots in your list, you can do one a day until December 25.
Twenty four names because on the 25th, the One we are thanking is Jesus. He who came so that we can have life – life eternal and life abundant.
What are you waiting for? Let’s go. 🙂
As we end this year, there are so many things to thank God for…
One of the best weapons we have against grumbling and complaining is to actually list down things to praise God for and be thankful for each of them.
Here are my top 10 ‘gratefulness’ quotes…
1. “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
2. “Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” -John Henry Jowett
3. “Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” — Hausa proverb (Nigeria)
4. “The best kind of giving is thanksgiving.” — Chesterton
5. Never take things for granted, because they might not always be there. ~anonymous
6. “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
7. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. – Socrates
8. “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” G.K. Chesterton
9. “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
10. “Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”- A. W. Tozer
(1 Chr 16:34) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.