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Thankfulness is rooted in our relationship with Christ
When we consider the verses associated with being thankful, it is evident that being thankful is rooted in a growing relationship with Christ. Being thankful is intended to be a part of our daily life. We aren’t just supposed to be thankful when everything is going well. Being gripped by thankfulness also provides us strength to make it through difficult seasons of life. A quote by Henri Nouwen on gratitude serves as a good reminder to practice being thankful. “Gratitude … goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint…The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious.” William Arthur Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
Obviously, we all have to work at being thankful and incorporating a thankfulness focus in our daily lives. It’s easy to take things for granted and develop an entitlement attitude throughout our day. Being thankful is a choice that we all make and we generally make it a decision at a time. It starts at the beginning of our day when we wake up – are we thankful for the breath that the Lord has given to us? Are we thankful for the bed that we slept in? Are we grateful for the shower, the utilities, the clothes, the food, etc. that we have been blessed with? Being thankful is an everyday habit for us to practice every waking moment. The great college basketball coach John Wooden offered the following advice on being thankful, “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”
Just like the parable of the 10 lepers who were all healed and yet only one turned around to give thanks to the Lord for His healing, may we all take the appropriate steps to thank the Lord for His daily blessings and amazing faithfulness. As we seek to “put on” thankfulness, may an increase in gratefulness be evident in our reactions, our speech, and our response to the blessings that we receive on a daily basis. May the history of men and women who have gone before us give us the courage and provide the right motivation to allow us to support ministries, like Faith Christian School, that seek to train and equip young people to live effectively in God’s world.