• Fri. May 24th, 2024

REFLECTION: BE GRATEFUL, NO MATTER THE SITUATION

Jan 4, 2021
BE GRATEFULBE GRATEFUL

The most unpredictable and challenging year 2020 has come to a close; to many this calls for stock taking. This means assessing how far we have gone in 2020, unfortunately there is always the tendency for most of us to feel unfulfilled and exhibit an attitude of ungratefulness. In our fast-paced changing world, it is becoming pretty counter-cultural idea to express gratitude and to have a grateful spirit, most especially to God.

The need for us to be grateful cannot be over-emphasised for a year like 2020, which according to some persons was really double trouble. Also, taking into cognizance that this is a year of high rate of deaths, plagues such as the corona virus, terrorism, kidnapping, wickedness, uprising like Endsars protest and many others just too numerous to mention. We therefore owe God the debt of thanking Him for allowing us to see the end of this most unpredictable year.

It appears that man is not grateful for all the provisions God has provided for mankind in this world. We often tend to be self-centered, focusing more on the negative rather than being grateful for what we have.

It is counter cultural. Most people are interested in asserting rights and demanding, “What is rightfully mine.” Many people want things to be freely given to them or to obtain them with a minimum amount of work. Our political system is built on ‘who will give me more for free.’

Our Lord’s encounter with the ten lepers (Luke 17:15–18) reflects the attitude of most people in the world today. Only one out of ten bothered to return to the Lord to praise and give thanks for his healing. This encounter illustrates the fact that every breath and every heartbeat are sourced in Almighty God. This is true of every good and perfect gift enjoyed by mankind. Scripture tells us that God loves to be praised and thanked for all of his wonderful provisions. In fact, such expressions move God into action for those who do so.

There are many things that are commonly listed when we talk about what we are thankful for; family, friends, church or community, roof over our heads, food on the table, etc. These are wonderful things that of course we should be thankful for. We should learn to notice and appreciate the many little gifts and blessings in our lives. It will give us fresh lens to see our world through, and we will find that our whole attitude will be shifted. Instead of stress or worry or anxiety driving our days, our focus will be on gratitude and appreciation. We will begin to slow down more instead of always rushing so much, and in doing so, we will find so much more to be thankful for in the New Year than ever before.

SEE ALSO: REFLECTION: IT IS TIME TO MAKE SOME CHANGES

With a change in attitude, you begin to notice and appreciate the beauty of the world around you. And you will be surprise how gratitude can change your whole perspective on life and it will give you reasons to praise the Creator. “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23, NKJV). Moreover, when someone thanks you for what you have done, it usually gives a nice feeling. Expressions of gratitude strengthens our relationships. The same is true with our relationship with God; praising God and expressing gratitude enhances our relationship with Him.

In all areas of our life, we should endeavour to work at cultivating the habit of expressing gratitude to God; praising Him for allowing us to experience the beauty of His creation. Even when things have not worked the way we wanted it in 2020 and are not going as we would want them to be in 2021, we should always look for a way to thank God.

The wise person will be sure to practice what the Psalmist said, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103:1–4, NIV).

Gratitude is the feeling of being grateful and wanting to express your thanks. Showing gratitude has so many proven benefits- physical, mental and emotional. So it is very pertinent that everyone should make it part of their daily life. Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.

Even the bible encourages us to cultivate the spirit of gratitude, ‘…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

So, lasting happiness comes not only from merely saying thank you occasionally but having grateful disposition all the time. That in turn protects us from the feeling of entitlement, envy, and resentment, which would alienate people from us and rob us of joy in our lives.

Our creator himself has set a fine example in showing appreciation, even to mere humans. Hebrew 6:10 states, “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for His name” yes our creator considers it unrighteous or unjust, to show lack of gratitude. Let us try as much as possible to always be rejoicing and giving thanks for everything.

Experience has shown that gratitude improves our relationship with others. When we express sincere gratitude- whether for a gift, a kind word or practical help –we make the giver feel valued and appreciated. Even strangers respond warmly to people who sincerely thank them for doing things, such as holding a door. Even the Bible encourages showing gratitude “practice giving” said Jesus Christ and people will give to you. They will pour into your heart a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing” (Luke 6:38). If you offer thanksgiving as a sacrifice you glorify God. Advisedly, let us weave a pattern of gratitude to God at this end of the year and in 2021. “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23, NKJV).

Our feelings are normally closely linked to our thoughts. Therefore, we should try as much as possible to meditate on all our activities and ponder over the work of God. Let us not be distracted or become superficial persons. Let our thankful spirit stem from this regular contemplation of God’s ways and cultivate the habit in all our lives. It is always good for us to have a thoughtful disposition; which is a pre-requisite for grateful heart. Despite common perceptions of some persons, showing gratitude to people will enhance one’s happiness and help to build strong relationship.

However, in conjunction with thanking God, we must conduct ourselves properly under the umbrella of His will. God is looking for our “reasonable service.” I believe this includes a heart of gratitude, and a life that conforms to His will for our lives.

In conclusion, let us therefore in 2021 remain with a grateful heart, no matter whatever we had to pass through or we are presently passing through. Advisedly, let us ensure we cultivate and continue with a grateful spirit in our day to day activities in the new year, 2021.This entails expressing gratitude to God by always looking for opportunities to thank God; for this is His will for us. Remember God remains God, whatever the situation.

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