Reality of gratitude is a necessity
Gratitude is a life quality capable of changing the tone of attitudes, relationships, and situations. Often, an intentional leaning towards gratitude allows our lives to be loosed from the tangles of unnecessary tension. I have met and counseled with many people who choose to be miserable because they refuse to be thankful and appreciate what they have. This seems to point to the reality of gratitude not only being a choice of our life, but truly a necessity.
Jesus dealt with all kinds of people during His life and ministry. He often healed folks who may have heard of Him, yet never had seen Him. Many had a very brief experience with the Lord and came away completely healed from disease and transformed by the encounter. Luke’s Gospel tells of 10 men with leprosy who had a metamorphosis in their lives after meeting Jesus.
11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan. 17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Luke 17: 11-19 (NIV)
Obviously the one man who came to thank Jesus for healing him is an example of what gratitude not only looks like, but what gratitude means. I love how scripture says he “threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him!” How often do we show this kind of gratitude? How often do we give the Lord this kind of credit and thanks for what He has and continues to do for us? My assertion is we do not thank the Lord near enough and near as often as we should. In fact, gratitude should be at the heart of our worship, service, and devotion to Christ. When our primary approach to the Lord, and to life, is thankfulness and gratitude, our entire perspective about our circumstances is centered on who God is and not what are problems are.
Another way to define gratitude is to have “thankful thinking!” This type of gratitude and thinking involves three positions in life. Thankful thinking puts attitudes into perspective, sees the Lord continually working, and focuses on what He is doing, not on the problem. For the other nine lepers, they focused solely on their problem and the solution. The one who came back was focused on the one who had made the healing possible. When we focus on our problems, what we have is “stinkin thinkin,” but when we focus on the Lord, our thinking cannot help but be thanking.
Gratitude is never wasted, it is always the deposit into the bank of living well!
That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.