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Sunday, November 24, 2013

An Attitude of Gratitude

Though Thanksgiving is past, I'm still contemplating what it means to have an an attitude of gratitude. While I consider myself rich in grace and thankful for many blessed gifts and promises God has bestowed on me, I'm not always a grateful person. Though thanksgiving and gratitude are very similar, gratitude implies more of an attitude of gratefulness, rather than just a time to be thankful. I thank God often, but my heart attitude is not always one of gratitude and contentment.

Looking over what I've written in When God Speaks I'm challenged by my own words:

True contentment can only be achieved through knowing Jesus as our Shepherd. He is the only One who can fulfill our deepest desires. Our constant wanting is often indicative of how spiritually bankrupt we’ve become. All of us are looking to be filled; some recognize their true needs, while others cover it up with more and more things. In order for Christ to satisfy, we must admit our spiritual poverty and recognize our need for a shepherd.

For a shepherd to lead, the sheep must watch and follow where He goes. Where does the Good Shepherd lead us? Beside still waters, to green pastures, and places of restoration. Refreshment of the spirit is the result of following the Good Shepherd. He fills us with many spiritual blessings as presented in these promises—peace, love, joy, health, true happiness, riches and an eternal reward. In contrast, the path of materialism often leads to greed and jealousy. In Christ our Shepherd, all our deepest desires are met—the need for love, affirmation, a sense of purpose and eternal life. On the other hand, materialism often leaves a person feeling empty inside, full of greed and jealousy.

While I don't consider myself a materialistic person, that is not the only area where we need to develop a heart of contentment and gratitude. I often grumble about small things: having to do the dishes, clean the house, get up early for work; while I'm thankful for the blessings of God, family, home and job. But God is challenging me not to grumble even about the small things, but to develop and attitude of gratitude no matter what I'm going though. A challenge for sure! But as I follow the Shepherd where He leads, He shows me where I am lacking and how much I need Him, then he leads me to a place of contentment, not only on the mountain peaks with Him, but in the depths of the valley where real life happens: at work, at home, in the car, on the phone, in the kitchen and wherever else I might be. So where's your place of challenge? Where are you lacking gratitude? Ask God to show you and give you the grace to follow in his footsteps, day by day. Not only on Thanksgiving.