Weekly Thought – April 28, 2020
Fred always remembered those who were influential in his life. He expressed appreciation for men and women who taught him, prayed for him, and opened doors for him to use his gifts. He never took his opportunities for granted and always gave thanks.
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The longer I live, the more I use gratitude as a measure of maturity. I have a friend who is quite ill with cancer. We have a tradition when we talk. I say, “What are you grateful for?” And she always says “I have much to be grateful for.” Notice she does not say, “I had much to be grateful for” No, she says “I have much.” Even in these days of great illness she doesn’t relegate gratitude to the past – it is always present tense for her.
It is easy for people to give you a list of past experiences which generate gratitude, but sometimes it is difficult to express thankfulness for the current season. We need to be conscious that our greed, discontent, and losses can cause a cloud to cover us, hiding what is current. When we have significant difficulties it may blind us to what we have right before us.
As I have gotten older I find many of my friends joining the “used-ta” club. We get together and they talk about “I used-ta do this; I used-ta do that.” I made a deal with my family I would not gain membership in that one. When we fall into this pattern, we lose focus on the good things going on right now. Yes, there were some great highlights, but as I told Mary Alice early in our marriage, “The Best Is Yet To Be.”
A mature person knows the value of gratitude, but this is more than just saying thanks for specifics. It is developing a gratitude mindset. We probably only recognize a small percentage of what should generate appreciation. I think of those things I was protected from unknowingly; those things that were provided without any notice; those times when I was totally unaware… these constrain me to cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude.
Billy Graham once told me of two amazements: his selection by God and his preservation by God. Both are so vast that we could never understand the specifics. Therefore, we need to develop a grateful attitude which allows us to walk in thankfulness day by day.
A side thought: When I think about gratitude it occurs to me to ask the question: “Do we pray to fill our tool box, or our toy box?” Are we more grateful for toys than tools?
This week think about: 1) How currently grateful am I? 2) What triggers my gratitude? 3) Who models gratitude well?
Words of Wisdom: “The longer I live, the more I use gratitude as a measure of maturity.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The LORD strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude.” (Psalms 28:7 NET Bible)