“What are you thankful for? Gratitude 101.”
The message of this chapter is one that is usually shared around the Thanksgiving table, but Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shares that she purposely waited until the back half of her book Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy to address this. The focus of this book is to present Christian gratitude, in contrast to what she speaks of as the “simple garden variety” gratitude.
The first thing to understand concerning Christian gratitude is the importance of matching up the gift and the Giver. That has been a major goal of the earlier chapters in this book, to remind us of the truth of James 1:17, that every good and perfect gift ultimately comes from our heavenly Father, regardless of whose hands it passes through on the way to us.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
The underlying principle of Christian, God-centered gratitude is the goodness of our God. If we miss this truth, it’s like building a house directly on the ground, skipping the foundation. Christian gratitude is built on the foundation of the goodness of our God. And on this foundation, we can build a lifestyle of purposeful gratitude that won’t crumble the first time we face a difficult set of circumstances.
Psalm 34:8 is a good verse to memorize about this attribute of God.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Nancy says, “My desire is simply to free us to experience and express more of God’s goodness, and to keep us from grieving His Spirit by failing to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we have received from Him and from others.”
How often do you look at the practical blessings that surround you daily and see them as a reminder of God’s goodness and boundless grace? Reminders that He cares for us and provides for our every need?
Let’s close this week’s lesson by a time of practicing gratitude to God in each of the three specific areas covered in this chapter. Grab a journal or notebook and let’s take fifteen minutes of practicing gratitude in these three areas.
This exercise is to enable us to see how many things we truly have to give thanks for. As the songwriter put it:
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
- The first area mentioned includes the visible, material blessings the Lord gives us (pages 113 – top of 114). Take time now to get out your Gratitude Journal and make a list of as many of these as you can think of in five minutes.
- Next, she writes of our spiritual blessings, giving a few examples on pages 114 – the top of page 119. How many spiritual blessings can you think of in five minutes?
- Finally, she writes about relational blessing, on pages 119 – 121. Take another five minutes and make your own list.
Let’s close today with a song that reminds us we’ve “been blessed beyond all measure.”