Through out these past few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I have been doing a lot of thinking about gratitude and the things in my life for which I am grateful. I won’t bore you with my list, but it’s long. I have also tried writing this post several times throughout this week, but every time I’ve tried it either feels forced or very cliché. So, in the spirit of brevity and bullet points here are my reflections on gratitude.
1. Gratitude flows from recognizing the grace of God in our lives and how all areas of our lives are manifestations of God’s grace; whether it be where you were born, when you were born or to whom you were born.
2. Gratitude leads to humility, real humility, the kind that you find in Philippians 2. This kind of humility causes us to put others before our selves.
3. Gratitude enables us to live out the paradoxical nature of the kingdom in becoming great by becoming the least.
4. When we lose sight of the things for which we are grateful, when we take them for granted, it’s because we substitute the story of God’s grace for the lesser story of self-sufficiency. In the story of self-sufficiency…
5. We become ungrateful when we believe that all we’ve accomplished in our lives is because of our own doing. The idea of a self-made man is an allusion. We are all the sum total of our relationships and the majority of our relationships, to some extent, come into being outside of our control.
6. We become ungrateful when we live with the mentality of, “I’ve earned it and therefore I deserve it.” This mentality leads us to putting ourselves before others.
7. We become ungrateful when we start to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we already have.
All of life flows from the grace of God. The Greek word for grace is charis. Another Greek word rooted in charis is charisma, translated “gift.” All of life is a gift from God. Something we didn’t earn. Something we don’t deserve. Something for which we should be grateful. And even though this world is fractured and broken, God is in the process of putting it back together. And it’s those who are grateful, it’s those who live in the story of God’s grace who get to participate with God in putting of it back together.