Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude

In our One Month to Live Reading for today we read about being grateful. So many times in life we are ungrateful. We just tend to take things for granted. Many times it's because we are so busy running here and there and we fail to stop and think about all the blessings in our lives. Other times it's because we are so focused on ourselves and what we want and need that we forget all that God has already done in our lives. Sometimes we even hope and pray for things, and then when those things we wanted so bad happen, we forget to thank God for them, because we are so busy reaching for the next thing.

I like what the author has to say about gratitude. He says "An attitude of gratitude opens up our hearts to God, enabling us to really see the world the way it is, to experience life to it's fullest and enjoy every breath."

Cicero says, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." You see when we are thankful we become content and full of peace with ourselves and what we have as well as with others. Focusing on being grateful for what we have prevents us from becoming bitter and greedy for more.

The opposite is also true. When we are ungrateful, our hearts shrink and become colder. The opposite of a grateful heart is a heart of dissatisfaction, grumbling, complaining, and negativity.

If you had one month to live what would you be grateful for? Who would you want to thank? How can you begin to be more grateful and to show gratitude more in your life?


Kevin Cooksey said...

I would be thankful for my parents (I know that is a typical answer), but as parent today its not easy to be all you need to be. You need to be there for them to raise them up as Godly children and also be the Godly influence in their life. Who has raised children before, and can say “I was the best display of Christ at all times in my Child’s life…” exactly. You usually put your needs off to do what your children need. You have to get them here and there, money for this money for that. You know the drill. I’m not saying that my parents are perfect, but I can see they worked hard to bring me up right. Now Im trying to do the same and can see some of the struggles they may have faced. (Now that Kurt has shared is dream about writing, I thought I would try to do a better job in this blog. Kurt are you trying to bring out the best in me?)

Pump Dude (Kurt M. Richter) said...

You know it, KC!
For me, an attitude of ingratitude or indifference is a cancer that quickly spreads, killing my peace and joy. Just like cancer, I need to simply cut it out - remove it completely in order to truly appreciate the multitude of blessings in my life (I'm not just talking about my multitude of "chilluns" either).
Something I've been trying to do lately is to thank God for the inconveniences of my everday life (in addition to the obvious blessings). A traffic jam that allows me to spend some extra quiet time with the Lord, a normally frustrating day at the office that allows me to be more patient and to do my best to let it go, or my kids misbehaving which provides an opportunity to lovingly correct them and show them how we're supposed to treat others, etc.
Last night in Lifegroups we discussed how every attitude, feeling, action, etc is contagious, regardless of whether or not it's positive or negative. We create ripples in the lives of those around us, so we must always be careful to not "muddy the water" with our ranting and raving (by "our" I mean "MY"). As Christians, people are already looking at us to watch us fall. How much could we change the world with our positive ripples if we kept this attitude everywhere we went and no matter what the situation was?!

Rhettro said...

Kurt and Kevin, I totally agree with you guys. On Sunday night in youth group I said that "Our greatest problems aren’t circumstantial. Our greatest problems are perceptual. And when we look at life through the frame of Scripture we begin to see things the way God sees them." Scripture totally reframes the way we look at life. The Bible tells us that we should count it pure JOY when we face trails. That sounds crazy but it is true. If we begin to look at our life (good and bad)through the frame of scripture, we begin to see our lives like God sees them. If we are counting our trials as pure joy, how much more would we be able to appreciate the good things in our lives? Good blog Pastor!!!