An Attitude of Gratitude
Give thanks to the God of heaven. (Psalm 136:26)
Imagine how you would feel if someone said, “Thanks,” but then left and did something that proved the opposite. Perhaps they had said, “What a wonderful present! Thank you so much!” but then you discovered they had thrown it in the trash can. How would you feel? Probably not too pleased! This really would be a case of “actions speak louder than words.” But that’s exactly how God must feel when we go to church, pray in our groups or pray alone, but then don’t back up “thanks” expressed in words by “thanks” lived out in life.
What God wants from us is “an attitude of gratitude,” a life where we are constantly grateful, to God and to others. He wants a life where our first response is gratitude rather than grumbling, a life where thankfulness permeates everything we are and do and pray, where appreciation – of God, his people and his world – is the very atmosphere we breathe.
But for most of us, this doesn’t come instinctively. We can work at it, however! For example, we can ensure that our prayer times are filled with gratitude and aren’t just “shopping lists.” We can ensure we are grateful in the daily run of life – in the office, at college, in the shop, on the bus – looking constantly to use those little words “thank you.” We can ensure that an attitude of gratitude pervades our conversations, so that people leave us feeling better rather than worse (and the workplace is a great place to do that, for if anywhere can be negative, it is often there). In short, we can give ourselves to being a people of “thanks-living” and not just “thanks-giving.” As Matthew Henry, the 18th-century Bible commentator put it, “Thanks-giving is good, but thanks-living is better.” And as George Herbert, the 17th-century poet and hymn writer, prayed, “Thou that hast given me so much … Give me one thing more – a grateful heart.”
So, what about me? Do I model “thanks-giving” or “thanks-living” in my life? Do I seek to maintain “an attitude of gratitude”? Am I a grumbler or am I grateful? A worrier or a worshipper? Today is as good a day as any to start doing things differently!
Whatever happens, keep thanking God. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, CEV)
© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont