Scripture of the Day:
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Hope Discovery of the Day:
We can be grateful even in pain and sorrow because we know our story is not over yet.
This month, many of us endeavor to be more intentional about gratitude. I have been posting a Scripture and a thought each day on this platform to hopefully spur on genuine gratitude. Why this focus on being grateful? Because being grateful is not something that comes naturally to our flesh. But gratitude can be cultivated in our lives even if circumstances are seemingly not that great.
An article I read from eChurch stated that “the word “gratitude” first showed up in the mid-fifteenth century. Adapted from the Latin word gratitudinem, which means “thankfulness,” gratitude came to express deep, reciprocal appreciation for kindness received.”
If gratitude is in response to a kindness we have received, then gratitude should be prevalent among God’s people. But a grateful heart has to recognize all the blessings around us. All too often, we tend to focus on the painful, hard aspects of our lives and let that steal away our joy and blind us to the blessings in our lives.
True gratitude requires that we go deep – deeper than what we see on the surface and contemplate what God is doing in our lives.
As a momma, I delight in finding what will delight them at holidays and birthdays. I remember times when I would think of ways to bless my children. But sometimes a gift would be given that was not appreciated. Maybe they wanted something else and felt let down. Ever experienced that? It is a pretty crummy feeling after you go through a lot of effort to bless someone. But if we are all honest, we have all felt similarly.
When our expectations do not match what we receive, our hearts can become ungrateful. But when we are willing to examine our expectations and contemplate what we truly deserve, we let go of bitterness and foster gratitude.
When we anticipate brokenness, we manage our expectations and are prepared to speak faith into what seems like another disappointment. We live in a fallen world. Expecting everything to be wonderful is entitlement. Being grateful when things are not so great is genuine gratitude. Choosing to be thankful for any blessing in our lives rather than bitter helps us to be conduits of gratitude.
Gratitude is formed when we focus on the positive things in our lives. Setting our mind on things above rather than temporary burdens on this earth creates in us a hope that ignites gratitude in our hearts. Choosing to emphasize in our mind the blessings of God rather than the thorn in our flesh helps us to escape the trap of ingratitude.
I can hear someone saying, “but you don’t know my life. I don’t have the blessings other people do.” No, but you also don’t have their problems. All too often we can see the blessings in other people’s lives and miss the blessings in our own lives. We have no idea what people went through in order to be so blessed. Comparison only stirs of dissatisfaction. Ironically, someone else is looking at us in the same way. Our story is not someone else’s but it is ours. When we live it out in gratitude before God, we fulfill His purpose in our lives and He is glorified.
Asking God to help us understand what is good can create a deep place of gratitude in our hearts where we are even truly grateful for the hard places. We can be grateful even in pain and sorrow because we know our story is not over yet. God will use the pain points in our lives for our good and His glory. Doesn’t that make us grateful in a broken world? True gratitude is not born in perfect circumstances but in broken places.
Lord, we tend to take things for granted. Forgive us for complaining and doubting Your goodness when things don’t go as we think they should. May we be a truly grateful people and may You be glorified in whatever this life brings.