Gratitude: Is It the Main Course or a Side Dish?

imagesOn Thursday of this week we will observe a day of Thanksgiving; however, the spiritual discipline of giving thanks was practiced long before the Pilgrims found their way into the pages of history.

As you mull the meaning of thankfulness,  give more than just a wink of contemplation to the contrast below:

  • Psalm 50:23: He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.
  • Romans 1:21: Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
  • One focuses on solemn reflection leading to respect, while the other speaks of rejection and neglect

When you consider the knee-buckling-goodness of God, your response should be more than a blasé yawn—it should be shout-it-from-the-mountain-top-gratitude.

Henri Nouwen has said, “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 and thanksgiving are like identical twins–they are so similar it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.  Gratitude is the manifestation of kindness perceived, and thanksgiving is the expression of kindness received.

Paul encourages us to abound in thanksgiving:  “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7).”80506764d4f9bef09a9cd171e8a6bf24

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expresses his gratitude and unabashed appreciation:  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:3–5).”

What stirs a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving in your heart?  Have you called the person or written them a letter to express your appreciation?  Why not do it now?

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