Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightning, writes Karl Barth. I think so, too. There is nothing bigger or better in life than receiving grace through faith in Jesus Christ!

G.K. Charleston has said “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  If we take time to wonder God’s mysteries in our lives we start to see God’s handiwork all around us. We need to cultivate wonder because wonder leads us to God. Wonder leads us to being in reverent awe of God. Wonder leads us to overflowing gratitude .

Gratitude is an attitude of seeing life as a gift of God.
Gratitude is an attitude of living life in awe of God’s grace.
Gratitude is an attitude of giving thanks in any circumstance.
Gratitude is an attitude of praising the Lord with every breath we take.
Gratitude is an attitude of loving God in everything we do.
Gratitude is an attitude of sharing God’s extravagant grace with our neigbors.
Gratitude is an attitude of focusing on God’s goodness.

“Gratitude claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy”, writes Henri J. M. Nouwen. Gratitude as a discipline involves a choice. We can choose to be grateful in any circumstance. We can choose to be grateful even when we are still hurt, bitter or resentful.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer points out that we prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. Bonhoeffer says we pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. Isn’t that true? How can then God entrust great things to us if we will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?

How can we practice gratitude? Like all the wisdom gratitude needs to be lived out. Otherwise it does not enhance our lives. One way to put gratitude in practice is praying. Praying for our loved ones, praying for our difficult co-workers, praying for events and situations in advance. Then we are much more likely to be graceful and grateful for them in real life.

Practicing gratitude is learning to live always in grace and extending that grace to others, too.
Practicing gratitude is a gift for others but also to ourselves because it frees energy and lifts our focus from us and our problems to God.
Practicing gratitude is a habit of counting our blessings.
Practicing gratitude is a habit of offering thanks, first and foremost, to God and to the people with whom we are living and working.
Practicing gratitude is an attitude of celebrating the Gift of Life and the Giver of Life.

God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough! (2 Cor. 9: 8-15, MSG)

Gracious God,
We praise you for your lovingkindness!
Teach us how to live praising you.
Show us how to joyfully serve you.
Guide us to always choose gratitude.
Direct us to live in awe of You.
Empower us to share your grace.
Equip us with overflowing gratitude.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How are you maintaining the attitude of gratitude? How are you practicing gratitude?

Be blessed, fellow pilgrim as you navigate your way throughout the world!

Check out the other posts on Gratitude at One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by graceful Bridget Chumbley! 

Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Carrizo

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