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An Attitude of Gratitude
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
We all know someone with a lousy attitude, maybe that person is you. If your attitude is bad, you probably lack gratitude. If we focus on our past mistakes and sins, we can’t see our present blessings. Sometimes, we are stuck in the past with a legitimate complaint – Why did I not get the promotion? Why did my house burn down? Why did my child die before me? Life is hard and sometimes unfair. Jesus spoke about the certainty of trouble in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Christians do not get to avoid adversity but do get the Good Shepherd to lead us through tough times.
At attitude of gratitude is essential for finding the peace of God that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). I have traveled to various developing countries and one thing that always amazes me is the attitude of the poor. Some would say that they have nothing, but I would argue that although they are living in extreme, horrible poverty they have everything. They have peace in their heart and an attitude of gratitude for the presence of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are living out the words of God to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In a recent sermon Rev. Tom Cook of Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, La stated, “The greatest thing that any Christian can be thankful for is the free gift of salvation and hope in this life and the next.”
In the US we think happiness is linked to financial success. However, Jill Suttie wrote in Greater Good Magazine, “In recent studies, scientists have found that the connection between wealth and well-being is not clear-cut. While some studies seem to tie wealth to well-being, others show that, after a certain point, a higher income will not bring more happiness or life satisfaction.”
Naz Beheshti wrote in Forbes magazine that the benefits of expressing gratitude are well-documented. “A study found that making a regular and deliberate effort to record one’s blessings improves a range of outcomes related to mental health and overall well-being. Keeping a gratitude journal is an increasingly popular personal practice.” The author also further reports, “Four in five (81%) employees report they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. When gratitude becomes a regular organizational practice, employees will feel both appreciated and valued, and their productivity and engagement will increase by leaps and bounds.”
Our response to God’s grace should be thanksgiving and worship. Paul summarizes it perfectly in 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
Prayer: Dear God: We thank you for the many blessings that you have given us. We are especially thankful for our salvation that comes through Him. Help us to keep an attitude of gratitude. We love you. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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