Gratitude is a 4-Letter Word

Why is it so hard to say “thank you” and actually mean it?  Think about the times during Thanksgiving when peer pressure forces you to give one thing that you are thankful for.  You knew that moment would come didn’t you?  However, some people would rather perform their own appendectomy before they would give thanks.  Why make a big deal out of nothing you might be saying to yourself?  I said, “thank you”, isn’t that enough?  Perhaps it’s not about the words, but the intent behind them.  Let me take a minute to explain this idea.

As an American Citizen, born and raised in this great country, I have been afforded many opportunities in my life that I know not many on the globe have had the same chance.  For example, I remember growing up as a kid and NOT looking forward to going to school, getting on the big yellow bus, sitting next to someone in class that I didn’t like, or doing work in and out of class that I told myself would never be used when “I grew up.”  Now that last statement may have some truth to it as I am in my thirties, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole.  I was given plenty of chances to be successful in whatever I applied myself to, such as, math, science, history, reading, athletics, etc.  Was I grateful for those opportunities?  Well, if I was being completely honest, the answer would most emphatically be “No!”

So the next logical thought is why?  Why would I not be honored to have the privilege to learn and grow as a human being?  What blocks that deep longing to grow and mature?  Could it be the fact that I have too much?  Could it be the fact that I desire more of what I already have?  Or could it simply be a matter of the heart?  The Message Bible puts it pretty clear in this statement; “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars.  Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.  It’s obvious, isn’t it?  The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

So if I’m not to “hoard treasure” here on earth, then maybe I’m to give it away as the LORD leads.  When I go to be with the LORD, I want to be remembered as a good steward with the things that I’ve been blessed with.  As I mature with age, I have learned that being grateful for the things I have is a blessing for not just me, but for the others that God puts in my life.  I am grateful for my godly wife who helps me in so many areas of my life; for my four incredibly awesome and different children who bring so much life and variety to my day as I watch them grow.  I am grateful for the church that I’ve been placed in to serve Christ’s people as well as the community I live in.  There is so much I have to be grateful for.

Maybe I need to focus more on storing up treasure in heaven.  Maybe my efforts to preserve the things that will break, rust and eventually disappoint me is a waste of time.  Perhaps I can fix my eyes on the Author and perfecter of my faith.  May I be disciplined in what I’ve been blessed with and be grateful for God’s providence in my life.  I would like to leave with this thought:

Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running – and never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how He did it.  Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.  And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.  When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through.  That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”  (Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG)

Let the blood that pumps in your heart, burn with the longing and desire to one day say “thank you” to Jesus Christ for all He has done on your behalf.  Standing before this Man who endured sin, death and the power of the devil and perfectly conquered them all for you, in order to give you the chance to tell Him “thank you” and actually mean it from every part of your being.  May this be the stewardship of our earthly lives.

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