Giving up ingratitude and learning-to be thankful.
There were a host of people who helped the bride produce her wedding: people who brought food, a friend who donated the venue, guests who brought gifts, and other contributors. It was a lovely wedding which went off without a hitch.
The bride “thanked” everyone with a Facebook post. After the sacrifices and effort made by the cadre of friends, it didn’t seem very, well, grateful.
Gratitude changes the heart. A truly grateful person realizes that s/he did not deserve the gift. It was given because of the generosity and regard of the giver. A grateful person is expressive and demonstrative in their gratitude. Personal convenience is not a consideration in the timing and extent of the expression of thanks. Gratitude makes one more mindful of the Other han the self.
Gratitude changes the heart. A grateful person is sensitized and aware of the way the blessings flow into his/her life. From the person holding the door to the teacher that gave insight and preparation for life, gratitude produces alertness.
Gratitude changes the heart. A rateful person seeks ways to “pay it forward.” S/he is humble and wants to share the abundanceceived. A truly grateful person is generous, never stingy.
It is easy to see why God wants us to be grateful. Thankfulness is the antidote to pride, presumption, bitterness, arrogance, and stinginess. Absent gratitude, we become bitter and unhappy.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
“As Jesus….entered a village [near the border of Galilee and Samaria]….ten lepers cried out to him, ‘Jesus, have mercy on us’…..He said to them, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed of their leprosy. [Only] one of them when he saw he was healed came back to tell Jesus thank. Luke 17:11-19,
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy…Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:1-5.
Question: Name a time when you felt grateful How was that experience different from just being happy that you got something you wanted (like a kid opening a Christmas present with the much-desired toy).
Activity: Make a list of 2-5 things that you’d like to work on to improve your awareness and expression of gratitude. Choose one person you’d like to say thank you to.
Prayer: Dear Father, we live in a world given to entitlement rather than gratitude. We, too, have our moments when we believe that we are self-made and self-actualized. Forgive us for our failure to see that our lives are full of events, relationships, gifts, and kindnesses that come from others. May we be thankful and give thanks to You and to generous people around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.