An Attitude of Gratitude

There were several things that stood out as I read Psalm 50 this morning. But three verses in particular reminded me of a weakness in my life that needs constant nourishing.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (50:14, 15).

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (50:23).

We naturally focus on the promises. Deliverance in the midst of trouble and salvation are good things which we can anticipate receiving from God. His deliverance of us brings Him glory. How He provides for us is a jumping-off point in our witness to others. When people hear from us what God has done in our lives He is glorified.

But there are two other items mentioned that glorify God: 1. lives that are lived to honour Him and, 2. thankful hearts. The first is covered by the phrases “perform your vows” and “one who orders his way rightly.

But it was the thankful heart phrases that struck me this morning, particularly the idea that thankfulness is a sacrifice. In other words, it is hard. I was reminded again of just how hard thankfulness is, particularly in the midst of difficulties, during a conversation I had in the hallway this morning with a neighbour. She was giving me an update on a mutual friend whose husband was going through a very difficult situation. When we are walking in darkness, it is hard to find light, let alone praise God for it, and our friend was in a particularly ungrateful mood.

But I don’t have any excuse for ingratitude. And that was what hit me this morning. There are no major “negatives” happening in my life at the moment—not that such times would be a reason to not be thankful. Gratitude should not be a sacrifice for me. It should not be difficult to be thankful. But I often forget to include thanksgiving as a regular part of my daily conversations with God or miss out on expressing thanks for so many things I take for granted.

Thanksgiving needs to a regular part of my spiritual nourishment. It needs to be part of my daily conversations with God. It has to be included in my conversations with others. Through its expression I glorify God. I can live rightly—and should—but an ungrateful or forgetful-of-His-mercies heart will show up in my body language and in how I fulfill those vows that I have made to Him.

I need to be thankful for a good night’s sleep. I should be thankful even when I don’t have one!

And once I start to thank Him, it’s quite amazing all the things I can come up with for which I am grateful. That expression of gratitude glorifies Him but it also blesses me with a much better attitude about everything else.

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