The Basics Of GratitudeSeries: Attitude Of Gratitude
The Basics of Gratitude
Good morning and I pray all are doing well. I would like to thank Rob for his lesson last Sunday. I’m so thankful that He is a part of our Cortland church family.
As most know, Rob and I will be preaching every other week. I have been giving a lot of thought to, what is biblical gratitude. You may remember me mentioning the attitude of gratitude in a couple of public prayers in the past, as well as Terry referring to it a couple weeks ago in one of his sermons.
I spent a lot of time researching this concept through bible study and several references, and meditation on it.
I have decided that one sermon is not enough to fully grasp the deeper meaning of an attitude of gratitude. I have therefor divided the study into a 4-part series.
We will be covering the first part this morning and the other 3 every other week. I will be posting a couple graphics on our Facebook page over the next few weeks as a lead in to the lessons.
I pray that the lessons will be fruitful to all in our walk with the Lord!
The titles of the 4 sermons are:
- The basics of Gratitude
- Gratitude’s Enemy – Grumbling & Murmuring
- What Unites Us
- The Key To a Full Life
With that said, let’s get into the lesson with a short prayer;
Lord, let us live a grateful life, a meaningful life, and a life that breathes in and out the realities of Your grace. Amen.
Gratitude is a basic ingredient to a meaningful life!
We find ourselves with gratitude from time to time over what others have done, but we will be concentrating on biblical gratitude this morning.
Let’s start by reading a few verses from God’s Word; (Genesis 8:15-20 & Exodus 12: 24-27)
When we mourn the loss of someone who has achieved a lot in their life, and consider their achievements, we often then look inward to evaluate our life’s significance as well.
As we grow older we sometimes wrestle with life’s significance and we ask ourselves questions like:
- What is most important in life?
- How do I fully live so I feel content?
- Will I leave a legacy that benefits those I leave behind?
- How will I build something in this life to carry into my eternal life?
Don’t we all desire a meaningful life, a life of significance. We want our lives to matter!
We have often heard the story of the grave markers with the birth date, a dash and the date of death.
We have heard that life is the dash. We all want that dash to mean more than a small short line.
Again, we want our lives to matter!
Therefore, what makes our lives significant?
We know that work, play, community, our home, and even our service can add value to our lives, but they do not define it.
If I want my life to be significant, what underlying values or practices should I be participating in so that it is significant?
The bible says that the practice of gratitude gives us a life now and in the hear-after of significance.
Here is a key; Through gratitude we appreciate life’s goodness, which compels us to pay it forward! We have all seen those commercials showing people paying it forward. Where someone does something nice for a person and then that person does something nice for another.
Gratitude creates within us a deep sense of happiness and satisfaction, which in turn enriches our relationships, nurtures the formation of new friendships, and underlies the very foundation of the church.
Being a church filled with gratitude is perhaps the key to growth.
- What is gratitude?
I discovered in my research this definition: Gratitude is the practice of actively remembering and expressing the grace (benefits we do not deserve) and goodness bestowed in our lives.
This tells me that we should bubble over with a desire to show gratitude for the goodness and grace we receive.
Referring back to what we read in Genesis 8:15-20 we discover one of the first acts of gratitude through the life of Noah.
After being on the Ark for a year, Noah walks off the boat and then builds an alter to the Lord. Noah’s first recorded act upon leaving the Ark was an act of gratitude!
Just think about this, Noah spent approximately 356 days closed in the Ark. As he walks out of the Ark, Noah makes a conscious decision that the very first thing he will do is to say, “thank You” to God! We have no record of God directing him to do so.
Noah did not offer an appeasement, or sacrifice to God. He offered his sacrifice out of a heart of gratitude! His natural desire upon leaving this huge box of animal crackers was to say “THANK YOU LORD!”
Try to put yourself in Noah’s place for a couple minutes.
For a solid year you’ve lived inside a dark ship. A ship drenched in the stench and mess of every animal on earth without a bottle of Fra-breeze. During this time, you’re tossed around the world by winds, rain, and waves. When the Ark finally banks itself on a mountain top, and you can walk out into fresh air, what do you imagine your first act in this new world would be?
Would it be to build an alter and say, “thank you?”
Blessing Noah was not a response to anything Noah earned. His blessing was not because he was a great ship captain. Noah’s blessing was not even a response to his obedience, although blessings do come from choosing a life of obedience, in this story we learn that Noah received his blessing because he chose to worship, which pleased God. Because his heart was thankful, and Noah’s emotion overflowed into an act of gratitude!
Researching a couple of biblical words I found this:
In the Bible, gratitude is the word, eucharista, which stems from the word, charis, which means grace. A favor, an act of goodwill, and loving kindness for which we do not deserve!
Therefor, eucharista is an offering of thanks out of the abundance of grace shown to us.
It is to give thanks to the Lord with delight in our hearts for His grace that He gives to us even though we do not deserve it!
The Bible tells us that God does not desire sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake, but that He delights in our declared praise and adoration, which is an outward expression of what is in our hearts. (Psalm 51:15-17).
By choosing to practice gratitude, we choose the grace that God has freely offered us and offer it freely back to Him and others!
It is important to note that the gratitude we are talking about is much more than a “thank you.”
Practicing gratitude flows out of a heart felt sentiment of thankfulness. The gratitude for God’s grace is more than a mere recognition of God’s grace, but a felt response which demands that we express a response. That is what Noah did.
When we receive God’s grace in our lives, we naturally want to express it. We do not always know how it will come out, be used, or where it will go. But when this grace is received, it will be expressed. We can’t hold it in. Jesus said that we are the light of the world and that we can’t hide the light but must be the light. We must let our light shine. We can only do that when we recognize the grace of God that has been freely given to us and we show our gratitude.
GRACE: Do we truly recognize it?
It’s easy to recognize God’s grace in our lives when life’s greater needs are met. Or when we are the recipients of unmerited generosity.
However, when it comes to the smaller graces in life, or better put, more subtle graces in life, because we do not sense them at the moment, we often fail to recognize God’s abundant grace throughout the day.
Learning to recognize God’s grace in our lives should become a conscious effort or practice of gratitude.
Let us ask ourselves; Is the only time we even think of grace is when we say it before we rush to fill our belly?
How does our response to God’s grace sound? Do we contemplate His grace and say thank you out of the reflection of the goodness and kindness He has granted us? Or do just repeat the words over and over in our prayers?
Do we take the time to consider the moments of God’s goodness and kindness throughout our day?
When we get out of bed in the morning, do we say, as David did, “Thank you God for another morning of new mercies?”
When an old family member has a moment of recall of a warm memory, do we thank the Lord for gracing us with this shared moment?
When we slow down and take the time to recognize grace in our lives, as believers we will desire grace. If God’s grace is all around us, in us, and working through us, then we will desire a willingness to show and receive gratitude at recognizing God’s grace.
Gratitude is the practice of remembering God’s grace!
Practicing gratitude, receiving, and expressing God’s grace is the foundation for building a deep and meaningful life!
Gratitude is dynamic it can’t be left as stationary if it is to be clearly understood and expressed.
The fruit of the spirit as given to us in Gal. 5
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, thankfulness, and self-control, all hinge upon the giving and receiving of God’s grace coupled with our gratitude. When we are on the receiving end of these virtues, we can’t help but express gratitude. When we practice to others these virtues they are grateful.
Our desire to express, receive, and give grace is what makes our lives significant. That should be our dash between to dates.
When we ask what is most important, our answer should be gratitude for what God has done and continues to do for and through us.
If practicing gratitude is above all else, then anything of importance would have to be built upon living out of God’s grace and expressing GOD’S GRACE IN THE FORM OF GRATITUDE!
Thank you for your attention during this lesson. In two weeks we will cover what hinders us from fully living a life of gratitude.