“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:1-3)
Gratitude is an interesting word that seems to have captured the attention of our culture. One definition is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
The question I would like to explore is: what is it in your life that produces a feeling of gratitude? Is it when someone is kind to you? Is it when your work, your situation, or your relationships are just exactly how you want them to be? Is it when you receive forgiveness for something which you didn’t deserve to receive forgiveness for?
For many people, it seems the primary force which drives their feelings of gratitude and thankfulness are the external experiences of day to day life. I would suggest that this limited scope of gratitude results in a roller coaster ride of transitory thankfulness that doesn’t result in any permanent transformation of attitude.
I would submit to you that true thankfulness and real gratitude comes from a deeper well. This is a well of “gratitude” that sources from a reality independent of our external circumstances. This reality is revealed in the person of Jesus and recognition of its truth results when a person is drawn to the foot of the cross, where forgiveness for all people was purchased with the immeasurable gift of the life of Christ.
“. . . God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:5-6, 8)
When we accept in obedient faith, the forgiveness that Jesus offers, gratitude is the natural response that should fill our hearts, minds, and lives to overflowing. We are free to be the gracious, kind, and compassionate people God always intended us to be, because we can know our destiny is assured.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:14-17)
Just like the pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving had a sense of that deeper well of gratitude, founded on obedient faith, our prayer is that you also may find this thankfulness that surpasses the challenges of the day to day struggles of life.
We invite you to come and see Jesus for yourself, and in the process find the true gratitude resulting from faith.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)