It has been said, “Thankfulness is a thread that can bind together all the patchwork squares of our lives.” Life is filled with a variety of seasons and emotions. There are times of happiness and sadness. There are times of frustration and relaxation. There are times of sickness and health. Yet, through it all, we can find reasons to be thankful.
The life of Jesus is a wonderful example of this. Did Jesus have a life free of trouble? Absolutely not. Think of all the things about which Jesus could have complained. He lived in a sinful world and suffered in the ways that we suffer. He wept. He was hungry. He was thirsty. Ultimately, he died the horrendous death on a cross.
The Lord’s Supper provides a glimpse of Jesus’ gratitude. “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). Notice Jesus gives thanks for the bread which is intended to signify His body which will be hung on the cross. Certainly, Jesus could have been resentful. But, instead, we see gratitude throughout his life.
Although life is certainly filled with difficulties, the Christian perspective provides a unique lens through which to understand life. This is why Paul writes, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). The cross and resurrection provide a different view of the world. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. Rather, we realize that God is “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). We live as those who are “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Gratitude is about our focus. When we focus on the ways in which we are blessed, we are appreciative. On the other hand, when we focus on the ways in which we perceive that we are lacking, we will live with ingratitude. Every day provides an about to be grateful or ingrateful.
Here are a few things that might help us lean toward a life of gratitude:
*Consider taking time every day to note the many things that are worthy of your appreciation. You might even want to write them down.
*Tell someone why you appreciate him or her.
*Think about a current hardship in life. Even within the hardship, reflect on something for which you can be thankful.
We have so many reasons to be filled with gratitude. We just need to slow down to notice them. When we do, we can’t help but be overwhelmed with thankfulness.