Nov 26, 2021
Psychologists and self-help gurus will all tell us that a grateful heart and a positive outlook will do wonders for health and relationships. A person with a heart of gratitude will be seen by others who will want to follow, and see what he has going for him.
Such a person is a magnet for sharing the Gospel, and the greatest source of wisdom has much to say on the subject. Dozens of times in the Bible, we read about the value of gratitude. Paul mentions it several times, including in the account of Elisha healing a woman’s sick son.
We read in 2 Kings 4:37, “She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.”
To be overwhelmed with gratitude, is an emotional reaction to kindness.
Lamentations 3:22–24 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
This is especially interesting because to lament means a person is sorrowful about something. In this case, it’s the prophet, Jeremiah. But notice, even in his grief he focuses on God’s love and care for him. He is grateful in his circumstance. In modern language, Jeremiah was being intentional about his gratitude.
The Bible tells us there are many variations of gratitude. In Second Corinthians, Paul even expressed his deep gratefulness to God for allowing him to participate in sharing the Gospel. You see, a truly grateful heart transitions from selfishness, to concern for others. And we can do the same thing today. When we focus on others, gratitude follows.
In Philippians 4, Paul also passes along a profound life lesson. Here, he says that we can learn to be grateful in all circumstances. Think about that. Grateful — whether in distress, or good times. Abundance, or poverty.
A few years ago, a youth missions group was repairing homes damaged by storms in Louisiana. A girl entered a house that was missing part of its roof, and she found an elderly woman rocking in a chair in a bedroom. “Oh, I’m just so happy to have a dry place to sit,” the woman said. She literally had no other dry areas in her home to be until help could arrive. Yet she didn’t complain about her circumstances. Instead, she gave thanks to the Lord, and in so doing — inspired that 16-year-old girl.
Gratitude is a perpetual gift, to us, and to others.
Father God, you are good. You’re good to us every day, and we are thankful for that. We’re grateful that you didn’t leave us in our sins, but you sent Jesus. We’re grateful that you sustain us always, in body and in spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.