Nov 13, 2021 08:00am
Gratitude the Jesus Way

“Thank you so much!” I appreciate it!” “Huge help!” Sometimes I say all three of those phrases in a row just to make sure you understand my sincere appreciation for what you’ve done for me. 

You might say, “A little overboard, don’t you think?” And, yes, probably, but people don’t have to do nice things for you and when they do, you should let them know . . . several times maybe! I get angry when people don’t say those words: Thank. You. How hard is that? Grrrr . . .

There’s not a lot of gratefulness in the world today. 

Not long after I became a mom I realized my children may not witness a lot of gratitude out there, and they were natural-born sinners already in this area: They were selfish, didn’t want to share, and totally didn’t get generosity. It seemed to me that if they could just lick their tendency to be ungrateful and selfish, much of their other poor behaviors would follow suit. Learning to be appreciative and not entitled would surely help mold them into grateful adults, so . . .  

When they received birthday or Christmas presents they didn’t like . . . big smiles and thank yous. Let’s really sell it!

When a sibling helped them make their bed . . . high five!

When they helped each other out with homework . . . thanks, bro. 

Gratefulness, I figured, was not only the key to being selfless and grateful but also to understanding who Jesus is and what he did on the cross. 

And it’s from Jesus that we receive the true meaning of selfless, which comes from a surrendered, humble, and sacrificial heart. But, sadly, I know my heart, and it doesn’t look grateful. Instead it is stained with pride and hidden agendas. I suppose I rely on those repeated “thank you” phrases to make me look sincere, but God forgives my insincerity.

All over the world, people’s number one desire is contentment and happiness. There is really only one road to get there and it leads us straight back to Jesus and his example of true sacrifice, gratitude, selflessness . . . 

First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

This is just one of at least 139 times that the word thank and its variations are used in the Bible, most often being directed at God. Also, Jesus commanded thankfulness and modeled it in the Lord’s prayer when his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. He thanked his father for listening to his prayer, and for providing food. 

As the Son of God he didn’t have to give thanks, but he did it because he was and is the ultimate example to Christians. No excuses. It’s right there in His Word. He didn’t just give us a list of commands; he came to earth to model a surrendered life.

Gratitude and humility go hand in hand, because the power of the cross makes us fall to our knees when we surrender our lives to Jesus. 

What happens after that? A perfect life without pain and heartache? No. But it does mean . . . 

unspeakable joy and incredible peace.

happiness, contentment, and fulfillment

a heart full of “God’s grace that is greater than all our sin.”

Will you surrender your life to him today? 

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