The Joy of Gratitude

I don’t know about you, but I find it much easier to see the glass as half empty rather than half full.  I don’t like that about myself.  At the same time, I think that our society overall has a pessimistic outlook on life…although that is no excuse. 

There are always things that can be different; always something that needs to be changed.  The key is to be grateful for what we have.  Although the world tells us that we won’t be happy until we have all the best toys and the largest home to put them in, the truth is that along with gratitude comes contentment. 

It could be that you are pushing a broom on the graveyard shift.  Isn’t it a blessing that you have a job that allows you to provide for your family!  Maybe your car is ten years old and there’s a great new body style on the new model.  On the other hand, your car is paid for and it doesn’t burn a drop of oil.

Michael Hyatt’s latest blog stated,

“Someone once wisely told me, ‘You won’t get what you don’t have until you learn to be grateful for what you do have.’ I think that is so true. We so often focus on our lack–what’s missing.

For example, we complain about our lack of a vibrant, real relationship with God. We wish our church were bigger–or smaller. We wish we had a spouse. Or perhaps we wish we didn’t have a spouse. Or maybe we want to change our spouse.

Or we wish we could get a different job, a different boss, or a bigger paycheck. We wish we had more interesting work, more sensitive coworkers, or different hours.

We wish we could live in a different city, a different part of the city, or a different house. We complain about our furniture, our car, and all our other stuff.

To state the obvious, this is not healthy. And do we really think this complaining spirit will lead to better relationships or more abundance?”

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV)

Whether we are in a time of plenty or a time of need, God has blessed us with life and with hope through Christ Jesus.  There are times in life when it is hard to see the positive.  There are also times in life where positive is all around us and yet we cannot look past our own selfish desires and recognize the abundance that God has prospered us. 

I would like to challenge you to take a moment and write down twenty items that you are thankful for right now.  Here’s my list (although it’s not close to exhaustive):

  1. Christ’s sacrifice for me and the relationship He has offered to me
  2. God’s Word and the hope that it brings to all humanity
  3. My children and their wonderful curiosity and overabounding love
  4. Susan’s love for me and our kids
  5. My parents and the good relationship that we share
  6. A nice home
  7. Plenty of clothing
  8. Many friends who support me and laugh and cry with me
  9. Reliable transportation
  10. Music
  11. Beauty of creation
  12. A job that provides for my family
  13. My church family for always loving and supporting me
  14. Cooler weather
  15. New opportunity in Amarillo that begins in January
  16. Delicious food
  17. Chocolate
  18. My iPhone – it’s a lot of fun and it provides tremendous convenience
  19. The Benevolence Center and all of the wonderful people who give their time to help those who are less fortunate
  20. Technology and all of the conveniences it provides
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