There is a black and white photograph of a Greek boy holding a pair of new shoes he had been given in the hard days following the end of World War II. That photo comes to mind every time I think about living a life dominated by gratitude and thanksgiving.
One of the most powerful forces in the universe is the power of thanks-giving. I’ve stood on the ground in Zimbabwe, so close to Victoria Falls that the mist from the watery thunder soaked me from head to toe, so close that the ground shook beneath my feet, and yet the power of those falls are nothing compared to the power of thanks-giving.
I’ve seen people who focus on the blessings of each day set free from a life of negativity, fear, anxiety, jealousy and regret.
There are deep down decisions we all have to make about who we are and who we will be, and one of these decisions has to do with whether we will live lives of gratitude for what we have received or bitterness over what we have missed. It is easy to go through life counting what we don’t have rather than what we have, but that way of living defeats us.
The first generations of Christians lived in an age of hardship. The apostle Paul, himself, had suffered through rejection, beatings, imprisonment, and shipwreck. Yet he wrote to the Easter people in 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
If you find yourself haunted by resentment, anger, and jealousy because you keep counting up what you wanted and didn’t get, I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes so you can see what you have: little things or big things.
Despite some shadows of regret and sadness that occasionally move across the landscape of my life, this afternoon I am thankful for:
I’ve watched what thanks-giving and gratitude can do, when we let God bring us awake and open our eyes to all the blessings in our lives, and it is an amazing, powerful, life-changing, ground-shaking thing.
Let us give thanks!
It is a joy sharing life and ministry with you.
In Christ and for Christ,
First United Methodist Church1203 E. Seventh Street | Auburn, IN firstname.lastname@example.org | 260.925.0885