Attitude of Gratitude
I think the older I get the less "stuff" I want. Less is more. I remember when Mike and I built a house we kept thinking of more things we wanted to do. Add an extra bedroom, put in central vac with an automatic dustpan, extra windows, maintenance free trim, built in's, surround system and the list goes on. That is just for our house. In our lives we are always wanting something more. It seems society wants us to all look for a bigger, better house; a bigger, better car; a bigger, better boat; a bigger, better vacation home; a bigger, better job and this list goes on.
I remember a sermon about this. My pastor said, "praise IS the more!" Finding "the more" in our lives starts with praise! When we focus on what we have our "more" becomes praise. More praise for what we have. He used the story of the loaves and the fishes (John 6: 1-14).
As Jesus traveled to the Sea of Galilee, He noticed a great crowd following Him. He asked the disciples to feed the crowds that were following Him. John 6: 9-14, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
The first miracle, "Feeding of the 5,000", is reported by all four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). In each gospel Jesus gave thanks first. Giving praise and thanksgiving to God increases our awareness of God's goodness. And that helps us receive a greater capacity to open our eyes to His goodness. We need to be counting our blessings - naming them one by one! The more we praise the more our cravings disappear because we are satisfied with Jesus.
John 6: 26-27, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." We can never be satisfied apart from Jesus. Gratitude shifts our gaze from our circumstances to our Savior! We finally find the joy our hearts having been longing for.
We will experience Psalm 30: 11-12, "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever."
We worry less if we praise more. Harry Ironside said, "Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction." The enemy wants us to be discontented and want more "stuff", keeping our focus on other "gods". Matthew 4: 8-9, "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me'". The devil even tried to tempt Jesus. The devil wants you to fail. Focus on the blessings that you do have!
Let's let our attitude of gratitude open our hearts today to see God's gifts of grace.