The Hidden Greatness of Gratitude

I was out the other day running errands and enjoying the fun of people watching and noticed an interesting scene. It went something like this. A young cheerful mom was handing her son an ice cream cone, “Here you go Sweetie. What do you say?” The child looked back at her with a blank expression. The mom repeated what she said, still cheerful voice, but now with a little more authority, “What do we say?” The kid pursed his lips, squinted his eyes and turned his back on his mom while licking his ice cream! Mom came around to face him, ‘Why won’t you say thank you?” The kid looked at her and in a mater-of-fact way said, “Why should I say thank you for what you promised to give me if I was good!” WOW…I was in shock. Now, I’m not sure what happened next, but from the look on that mom’s face, I don’t think that kid got another lick of ice cream!

This brought back a similar scene when we were out to eat. There was a man a few tables away getting louder and louder about his meal and the service he was getting. He berated his server over something at was not right with his order and said something like, “I am paying for this meal and I deserve quality and service. Get me the manager!” Now, maybe there was something not right with his meal, but the ingratitude of his complaint did not help the matter.

What a difference it would have made if in each of these scenes those people would have been thankful and shown a little gratitude. The unfortunate reality of life is that with our ever increasing sense of entitlement (that sense where we feel we deserve much or expect much) comes a decrease in gratitude. This lack of thankfulness holds us back from a hidden greatness found in gratitude.

Being thankful, expressing appreciation opens us up for all kinds of blessings. In a Huffington Post on-line article from last year, ten reasons are expounded on why gratitude is healthy (click here to read the article). The article cites studies that show being thankful increases well-being, helps us get better grades, make us better friends, helps us sleep better, increases our health, and betters our relationships! Wow, how great is that?!? But that’s not all. In a Forbes Magazine on-line article it says that there is proof being thankful opens us up to more relationships, reduces aggression, improves our self-esteem, and makes us smarter! (click here to read the article). There is a greatness attached to gratitude.

Well, God already knew the greatness of gratitude and that is why He challenges and commands us to be thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

That’s pretty straight forward, it is God’s will that we be thankful! Being thankful requires we humble ourselves and take on the attitude that we really don’t deserve anything. Because we don’t. We have what we have by the grace, mercy, and kindness of God.

James 1:17 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.1
So we are to be thankful.
Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Psalm 100:4-5 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! 5 For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
As we express the humility of appreciation the Holy Spirit does His work on our soul and we are better for it. Why not give it a try? Some of you are experts in thankfulness, please keep showing us how it’s done. The rest of us, let’s step into that humble, un-entitled attitude and express our gratitude. It will change your life.

Seeking to be more overtly thankful with you,

Mike

PS This past Sunday we talked about being thankful as we continued our teaching series entitled, “Wrestling with God in Prayer: Intense Internal Interactions with God’s Holy Spirit about Life.” If you would like to listen to this sermon by Rich Fieger, please go to our website: www.cypresschurch.net

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