One of the words that matters in our lives is gratitude, simply saying thanks. We’re drawn this time of year to reflect on the gifts we are thankful for in our lives. It may be around family or health, or some other blessings God has given that have enriched our lives. I know for some this will not be an easy time or year to express our thanks. And yet, almost one third of the 150 Psalms in the Bible include words of thanksgiving to God. It’s a common sentiment for faithful people. When we are able to thank God, our heart opens up a bit. When we are able to thank God, our faith grows some. When we are able to thank God, we turn our attention away from self and towards our maker. Perhaps we look a bit harder or notice more about what God is doing for us. This can shift us. I like how singer Willie Nelson (an old Methodist) put it, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Would that happen for you?
Paul knew that gratitude was a spiritual practice. We’ll read from his letter to the Colossians where in Chapter 3 he mentions three different times the value of being thankful. It’s a response to grace and understanding that God is always working, even when life is hard, even when there is tension and conflict around us. Paul knew that even when things look bleak, God has not stopped working. He would write, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” (Romans 5:20). And we can be thankful how God gives us more when difficulties and sin increase.
Do you look at the world from a perspective of abundance or scarcity? The lens we look through can affect our attitude of thankfulness. Oprah Winfrey said it well: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Can you see what God has provided for you? Sunday, we come to worship so that we may see even more fully what God is doing in our world, and be thankful for all God has given to us.
Dave Summers, PhD
602.840.8360, Ext 131