Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
“One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:15-18
I recently read the book written two years ago, in honour of the 90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II and I was taken with this quote from the book; “I have been, and remain, very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love. I have indeed seen his faithfulness.”
I think why I was so captivated by this quote was because, although we expect to hear God publicly praised by preachers or perhaps prominent authors and the like, how many countries have a Queen who loves Jesus and is not ashamed to openly say so?
Underneath all pomp and ceremony of British royal events; under the stunningly beautiful crown, is just a wife, mother and grandmother, not that different to you or I, whose heart is overflowing with gratitude to the God who has been faithful to her all her days.
We teach our children to say thank you from the time they start talking. Saying thank you is considered an important part of most “civilised” cultures.
Yet often, we can so easily forget to say thank you to God.
In the story in Luke 17, Jesus had healed 10 people, yet only one bothered to come back to say thank you.
God works in our lives every single day; Even when we don’t see it, or realise it, He is constantly caring for us.
Romans 8:28 tells us: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” This is one of those verses that we quote to encourage someone during hard times, and rightly so. But it’s so much more than just a “go to” verse – it’s “scripture to live by.” God is working ALL things together for your good – not just the things that go “wrong.”
What if we were to wake up in the mornings and just say; “Thank you Lord, for your love and faithfulness to me today”?
It isn’t that God needs our thanks. As human beings, when we do something nice for someone and they don’t say thank you, it hurts a bit, doesn’t it? Some people take offence at not being thanked – but that’s for another blog post! Sometimes just a simple “thank you” can make someone’s day – such as the tired looking lady at the supermarket till, or the policeman, directing traffic because the lights are broken. We say thank you to people to affirm them. But this isn’t why we thank God. God doesn’t need our affirmation – we need to thank him for our own good. Here are 3 reasons why this is true:
* Thanking God reminds us of His goodness in our lives.
* It encourages those around us. As we become more vocal in our thankfulness, we effect, and infect the people around us. For example, when I read the quote in the Queen’s book, it reminded me to be thankful; when I read how the healed man went back to thank Jesus, it was another reminder.
* Thankfulness retrains our thinking. When I forget to be thankful I find it’s easy to get into a mindset of complaining, comparing and coveting, until it becomes a downward spiral of “nothing’s ever good enough”. Sometimes I get so caught up with a lack mentality, when Psalm 23 tells me clearly that The Lord is my Shepherd- therefore I lack nothing! Isn’t it so easy to become focussed on what we don’t have and forget to be grateful for what we HAVE.
Therefore, when I am thankful, I remember the source of all my blessings. My Faithful, loving God:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
I don’t think the 9 lepers who didn’t go back to thank Jesus were ungrateful; I’m sure they felt huge gratitude in their hearts. They just didn’t bother to actually take the time to verbalise it. They just went off and got on with their lives.
Today, let’s be like the one who went back – let’s be thankful.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
PS: Below is a necklace from my Etsy shop Miss Maisie’s Wee Shop; a quirky, misshapen heart, with another smaller heart. On the big heart I have hand stamped the words from verse Psalm 23:4, ‘my cup overflows‘
For more details follow the secure link highlighted in blue above.