In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. Acts 24:3 (ESV)
GRATITUDE – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
As I sat down to write this piece, I must share with you that I am in the middle of a tremendous storm. Whew! I am sorry to give these stark details to anyone, but I believe it is so important to share that we can be GRATEFUL even in this storm.
LESSON ONE – GRATITUDE IS MORE THAN THANK YOU; IT TAKES ACTION
Last week my brother announced that he has inoperable pancreatic cancer. He is 66, a father of three, and a granddad of four sweet kiddos. Despite it all, he is keeping his faith close and standing on the Word He is not giving up and will continue to pray.
Later that week, he called me just to share how much he loves me and how grateful he is for our times together over the years. He was humble, soft-spoken, and so sincere. It touched my heart that he was thinking of me during this difficult time, but it also gave me such peace. Despite the heavy conversation, we both felt God’s love and His grace in such a deep and peaceful way.
My brother is a minister in Washington state, and we live in Texas. So, each trip here was a celebration with BBQ, chicken-fried steak, and of course, Mexican food during his stay. He reflected on the people and our time together sharing these meals and spending time with family and friends. During the call, as he mentioned someone, he asked me to call them and tell them how much he loves them and how grateful he is for this memory, or that memory.
As he faces this huge challenge in his life, he is reflecting on the things that he is grateful for now and in the past. He is sad, and even upset at times, but through it all, he is tremendously grateful because he knows that God is in control.
For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 2 Corinthians 9:12 (ESV)
The major item that touched my heart was his desire to think of others, thank others, and share his appreciation of memories and experiences with all of us. He was blessed by sharing those thoughts and feelings, and we were blessed as well. He showed us how to find gratitude even in this storm and act upon those thoughts and feelings.
LESSON TWO – GRATITUDE CAN BE CONTAGIOUS
Over the next few days, many of us got the gratitude bug ourselves, and we wanted to share it back to him. So, we decided to return those memories to him in the only way we knew how . . . to send him his favorite chips from our local Mexican restaurant. I know that sounds silly to overnight chips to someone, but why wait to show someone how much you care and that you are thinking about them. So, it was our gratitude in action. We took this action because we listened to him. Yes, he had mentioned those chips several times on our calls, so we knew he would enjoy them. He said that he could not wait to have those chips. We know that he was thinking about returning to Texas for a taste in the future, but we felt that the moment was better right now. Everyone involved was elated to help make this happen; they had been blessed to send him a thoughtful and kind surprise. The scripture below explains how my brother could bless us, because he was comforted by his Father . . . God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (ESV)
LESSON THREE – WE LEARN GRATITUDE BY EXAMPLE
First off, our Heavenly Father showed us how to be grateful and how to show gratitude and appreciation time and again in the Bible. Psalms gives us some of the best examples and instruction to follow.
I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
Psalm 100 is an amazing example for us all in giving grateful praise.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:1–5 (KJV)
While here on Earth, Jesus set such a dynamic example for us. He demonstrated time and again His gratitude and appreciation to God for almost everything.
For His Creations . . .
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Matthew 6:26–30 (NIV)
For Food . . .
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Luke 24:30 (NIV)
For Hearing His Prayers . . .
So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41–42 (NIV)
He even taught us to be grateful and give thanks in The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
That is not to even mention Paul and many other disciples that learned from Jesus and in turn demonstrated to the churches how to give thanks and to be grateful to God.
LESSON FOUR – BEING GRATEFUL HEALS YOUR HEART
There is so much research and evidence that being grateful can reframe your entire attitude and even improve your mental, physical, and emotional health. But we knew that already. We felt different during the call with my brother where he expressed appreciation and gratitude to us. Or, during our shipping of the chips to him, we were so filled with joy. Yes, we even felt joyful, despite our sorrow. We found peace by acting on our grateful thoughts and giving them to others even in some small way, by which we were all blessed.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (KJV)
LESSON FIVE – PRACTICE IT DAILY
In closing, if gratitude becomes a daily practice, then gratitude with action is the next step. If each day we can focus on what we have been given, the blessings in our life, and the joy all around us, we will want to return that joy to others as commanded. We will be grateful for even the small things He has done for us and continues to do for us. Gratitude with action could change a life, and it just might be yours.
Shelley Farrar-Coleman is a mom of four adult children and nana to seven beautiful grandchildren. Shelley is a teacher, author, educator, and has trained thousands of teachers, administrators, and parents in her career. She has spoken to small groups and been the keynote at large conventions. Her passion is to help people and to improve their lives and the lives of their families. She saw a world in need of God’s love and decided to share inspirational and funny stories along with the tools, journals, and guides to help them build the inspired Christian life that they desire. Shelley has written two Christian books: “BEING TRAV– BRICK BY BRICK: A GUIDE TO BUILDING AN INSPIRED LIFE“ and “WHAT KIND of TATOR are YOU?” A book about some special “Tators”, one being the Imitator of Christ. Connect with Shelley: at her website: https://amibeingtrav.com; Instagram – @amibeingtrav; FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/being.trav.1
We thank you, Shelley, for contributing to this month’s publication of Titus-two.com and sharing your heart about Gratitude.
We love you to Heaven and Back, Shelley ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary