One of the recurring themes of the New Testament is found in the command to “Be Thankful.” Over and over it is found throughout the letters to churches and individuals. We stumble upon it so often we are apt to overlook it. But I can’t think of a quality more deeply needed in our march toward Christian maturity. We teach our children to say “Thank You” and sometimes they learn to adopt the phrase as a regular part of their everyday speech. As gratifying as that is, that is still a long way from observing a “grateful spirit” at work within them.
Several years ago there was a PEANUTS cartoon in which Schroeder, that piano-loving intellectual, was interrupted as he often was by his infatuated admirer, Lucy. Lucy asked him, “Schroeder, do you know what love is?” Schroeder abruptly stopped his playing, stood to his feet and said precisely, “Love: noun, to be fond of, a strong affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons.” Then he sat back down and resumed playing his piano. Lucy sat there stunned and then murmured sarcastically, “On paper, he’s great!”
I’m afraid that is where many of us specialize in gratitude—on paper. To possess a spirit of gratitude is priceless for it is built upon a giant dose of true humility. To always consider yourself as living on the positive side of life is a wonderful thing. Every good act that people do and every kind word is genuinely appreciated. Every possession you have is looked upon as a gift from God. You now know how and why to praise God. The door of heaven is open to you because “God inhabits the praises of His people.” Your spirit is freed from the chains of “want” because you are conscious of what you have already been given and who has given it. The only thing more delightful than witnessing the spirit of gratitude abiding in another person is to experience its presence within yourself. If you possess it, praise God for your blessed condition and do everything you can to enlarge its borders. If you lack it, all Is not lost. Develop your awareness of and dependence upon God and it will grow. Just remember the words of David: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship