“Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. The peace of Christ must control your hearts – a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17
In Five Marks of a Methodist, Steve Harper tells us that for six days of the week, John Wesley focused on the two greatest commandments (love God and love others) in his prayers. On Saturday, he recognized both big and small ways the grace of God had been revealed during that week and expressed his gratitude. He recounted “what we might call the most general blessings he had received, and then moved to more specific acts of God’s goodness toward him.”
Jim Stovall’s The Ultimate Gift lists twelve gifts of life-long importance, one being the Gift of Gratitude. He relates the story of an older man who is asked why he was always in such good spirits to which the man replied that each morning before he rose, he made a Golden List of the ten things he was most grateful for that day. He learned from his mother this was the reason for her cheerful countenance, and he did it all the days of his life.
While Wesley may not have limited his list to ten, it does sound similar, so I ask, what would be on your Golden List? Each morning’s list may make you more aware that day so your eyes are open to the blessings around you for which gratitude is a natural response. Gradually, gratitude will become as much a part of you as breathing, and with that you will thrive.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe.” Hebrews 12:28
Gratitude: October 18 – October 24