G.K. Chesterton said about gratitude: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
For me, gratitude is a key to abundant life. Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly (John 10:10)
Let’s go on a quick journey. Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem. They get to the border between Galilee and Samaria. The Bible says that, as they enter a village, ten lepers call out to him from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” They were at a distance, because they were considered social outcasts, and unclean according to Jewish law and custom. In other words, they were the “freaks” of society at that time. Jesus then tells them to go show themselves to the priest. As they are walking away, they are healed of their leprosy. Their lives are forever changed. They can hug family members they haven’t been allowed to touch or go near. They are allowed to go to the market like everyone else; they are no longer outcasts. One of the ten men, when he realises that he is healed, runs back to Jesus. Overwhelmed by God’s goodness, he falls at Jesus’ feet and praises Him and thanks Him. What is significant is that the man who returned was a Samaritan, and the Samaritans were looked down on by the Jews. Jesus then asks, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18) Then something truly astonishing happens: Jesus says to him, “Stand up, your faith has made you whole…”(Luke 17:19) Not only has he been healed from the disease, his body has been restored, limbs have been restored where they were missing, emotional healing has taken place, he is fully embraced and accepted by Jesus, and made completely whole.
That is what gratitude does for us. It takes us beyond our present circumstance, our own sense of worth and entitlement, our needs and wants, and shifts our focus onto what we’ve been given, and the One who gave it. It opens our eyes to the abundant life God has given us. No wonder Chesterton says of thanks that it is the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. This is the abundant living Jesus speaks about-when we live in an attitude of gratitude, our wonder and gratitude increases, and cares and worries diminish because we know our God has got this. HE. IS. AMAZING.
As parents, we often do things for our children and give them treats or give them amazing experiences. When my children respond by thanking me, and praising me – “Thanks Mom, you’re the best” – it just melts my heart and I want to do even more for them. But when they respond with entitlement, it hurts my heart and my closes my hand, so to speak. Could it be that God wants to do so much more for us, but we hinder him from doing so because of our own ungrateful attitudes?
David understood this when he wrote in Psalm 100:4: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
In Psalm 50:14 he says: “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” Also Psalm 50:23: “But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honours me.
If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”
It sounds so simple doesn’t it? But could it be that when we are doing stuff for God and sacrifice our time, money and resources on behalf of the Kingdom our focus shifts to ourselves and how much we are doing for God, we start to think God owes us? But when we start to thank God for all he has done for us, our focus shifts to Him and all that HE has done for us.
Lastly, I would like to share a poem by Annie Johnson Flint, titled “He giveth more grace”, and as you read it may your heart be overwhelmed by gratitude to our Father God for all he has done for us:
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
Married to Bruce McAlpine. Mother of two beautiful girls, two handsome boys, 2 Schnauzers and a cat(who thinks he runs the show) and part-time mom to whoever is staying at their home at any given time.
She loves Jesus with all her heart and her hobbies include running, CrossFit, and lying on their trampoline staring up into their huge big Camphor tree(aka daydreaming) Together with her husband Bruce and their amazing team of elders, they lead Lighthouse to the Nations Church in Norwood, Johannesburg.