The habit of gratitude
by Terry Broome
It’s here at last! That wonderful season of Thanksgiving! I love this time of the year and the fact that so many say so much about the reasons for being thankful. The psalmist calls his people to “remember” the works of God in Psalms 105:1-5 (KJV) “Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;”
He knew how prone people are to forget. He knew how easy it is for us to focus on our trials; to be weighted down with care; to overlook the many simple blessings we enjoy in life. I would like to encourage the reader to perform a simple exercise. Sometime soon (today would be best) get a piece of paper and divide it into three columns.
• Give each of the columns one of the following headings: God, People, Things.
• Then, begin to list the things under each column for which you can be thankful.
• Don’t rush through it. Take time to remember.
• When your list is completed, take it before God in prayer and deliberately, one by one, thank Him for the things on your list.
• Then, you might want to thank the people on that list for how they have been a blessing. Write them a note, call them on the phone, or give them a hug the next time you see them.
Both gratitude and ingratitude are contagious. Don’t you find it somewhat depressing that people almost always know of our complaints, but seldom know how we have been blessed? We are so quick to share our latest trials, no matter how trivial, but it takes a “big blessing” before we think to share something good.
Can you imagine how different life would be if we spent as much time sharing our blessings as we do in airing our complaints? Something strange happens when a child is old enough to participate in prayer before our meals that has the potential to be revolutionary if we will allow it. It can be an humbling, yet refreshing experience to hear your child pray. Children like to thank God for everything. They thank God for everyone, sometimes by name as far as they can remember. They thank God for letting them go walking at the mall with their mother; for being able to play in the dirt with a new tractor; just whatever seemed to them to be special that day – nothing big or exciting – just a lot of little things. I think we could all learn from a child. I hope that it is a lesson we do not soon forget.
Colossians 2:6-7 (KJV) “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.