Gratitude doesn’t come naturally, but when we practice gratitude, we do gain something in return: a better perspective.
If you’ve ever tried to feed a two-year-old, you know babies aren’t born with gratitude. They scream when you try to feed them and when they finally do eat, there’s no appreciation.
What is Gratitude? Thankfulness, thanksgiving, or gratefulness. A feeling that spontaneously emerges from within. However, it is not simply an emotional response; it is also a choice we make. Gratitude is essentially the recognition of the unearned increments of value in one’s experience.
Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. ~ Joanna Macy
1st Thes 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch that? Give thanks in all circumstances. Thankfulness should be a way of life for us, naturally flowing from our hearts and mouths.
Digging into the Scriptures a little more deeply, we understand why we should be thankful and also how to have gratitude in different circumstances.
Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Here we have two reasons to be thankful: God’s constant goodness and His steadfast love. When we recognize the nature of our depravity and understand that, apart from God, there is only death (John 10:10; Romans 7:5), our natural response is to be grateful for the life He gives.
What is Gratefulness? Gratefulness definition, warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful: I am grateful to you for your help.
Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more. ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
We cannot be grateful for all that a given moment brings us; yet, in any given moment, we can be grateful for something. The gift within the gift of any given moment is opportunity. ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
“Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me…” (Psalm 23:4)
In the middle of hard times, we learn how to be thankful even thoughthings aren’t going the way we hoped. Even though you’re lonely, even though your marriage is struggling, even though the doctor’s report is bad — God is still good. We can learn to be thankful even though life feels like it’s falling apart around us.
“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because ofthis I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…” (Philippians 1:18)
While in prison, Paul thanks God. His heart is full of gratitude while he’s in chains. His gratitude was at the highest level: He was grateful for his circumstances because of the way God was working through his struggle.
When God blesses or comforts or provides for us, we’re thankful for the things He has done. You got a promotion? Your relationship is doing well? Your family is healthy? Gratitude isn’t hard to practice when we train ourselves to be thankful for the countless ways He blesses us.
As you delve into this life-transforming text of Scripture may the Lord richly bless your life with an ever-growing attitude of gratitude. Feeling and expressing appreciation is good for us. We can have thankful hearts toward God even when we do not feel thankful for the circumstance. We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be angry at sin and still be thankful toward God.