Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
By Sarah Komisky
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks…”
– Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)
It’s Thanksgiving and it’s the time of the year when the nation gives thanks. Thanks for turkey. Thanks for family. Thanks for football. Thanks for health (as echoed by Jennifer Aniston and Sophia Vergara for a St. Jude Children’s Hospital campaign). We as a nation are taking a day to give thanks. As a child, we wear our Pilgrim and Indian hats and learn that it’s what we do. But more often than not, our gratitude fades with the mashed potatoes and gravy we ate at dinner. Year after year, we offer our thanks as an American tradition without ever letting the attitude of gratitude penetrate our lives beyond the holiday. The seed of gratitude is never truly cultivated and falls by the wayside when we wake up the next day.
The ten lepers in the book of Luke in the bible were like that. They had a horrible skin condition and were in need of help, but once they received it, they never told the One who healed them thank you…..except one. One guy after his healing, went back, found Jesus, and expressed his gratitude through worship. This guy was changed, his heart was changed, and I have no doubt it blessed the heart of God.
In book of James in the bible it says that “every good and perfect gift is from above….” That means that Jesus is the giver of every good thing in our lives. Every sunset. Every beautiful song. Every hug that says we are loved. Every good conversation. Every loyal friend. Every roof above our heads. Every smile from a child. Every college tuition paid. Every bit of groceries we receive. Every job. Every grandparent we still have in our lives. Every spouse. Every night’s sleep. Every breathe we take. It is all a gift from the God who loves us! Yet we like the lepers walk away without thanking the God who provided it all for us.
Christian or not, we don’t acknowledge God’s blessings in our lives. It’s probably the reason why we are anxious stricken, depressed ridden, and entirely self focused. We sigh, “Woe is me!” when we have to wait in line for coffee, complain how a restaurant wasn’t so great, and moan over why we don’t have the newest iphone. We stare at the deficits in our lives in dismay as our joy is drained completely. We are not conscious of the blessings we do have. Maybe we feel entitled or are simply unaware of our attitude. Whatever it is, we need a new one.
Whatever life has thrown our way or whatever we have to deal with for the choices we made, we can still be thankful. Thankful for what God is producing through those things even if they are hard, not what we hoped for, or painful to face. However, a new attitude can’t be mustered up on our own. If we aren’t a believer in Christ, we need to meet the One who is the giver of every good thing. Having Him in our lives enables us to be grateful. He changes our attitude and if we are a Christian but we realize our attitude isn’t all it should be, than we can come to God and start new. So if you are ready to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, take some time to ask Jesus to change your heart and as you gain a new perspective, may your holiday be one celebrating all God has done.
You can have an attitude of gratitude year round! You don’t have to be like the lepers who didn’t thank God. You can take time each day to tell Jesus what you’re thankful for by creating a Gratitude Jar. All you need is a clear glass container with a lid. You can have fun decorating the outside to make it your own. Cut stationary or colored memo notes and write on the paper what you’re thankful for. You can read them whenever you want, look back at all God has done, and be thankful. Showing God your gratitude through your love notes produces joy in your heart that will last beyond Thanksgiving.