Gratefulness is a life-changer. Literally. Those who hold an “attitude of gratitude” often have a higher quality of life, live longer, and share deeper relationships with others than those who don’t. As a wise six-year-old once said, “No one likes a grumpy face.”
Personally, I have a huge assortment of wonderful reasons why I am grateful. And it seems I’m not alone. I’ve been surfing the myriad Facebook posts regarding gratefulness. Rather than offer up my own personal reasons, I thought it would be cool to share some of the emergent themes from the offerings posted by those on the great wide interweb.
1. The book of my life has not been fully written — I get to continue to learn from my mistakes, and build on the legacy I am hoping to leave to others.
2. You are in my life – I have deep and caring relationships with my kids, my parents, my friends, my community. And I get to continue to enjoy and explore these.
3. What is missing: My car, boat, xbox, espresso machine, or something else I bought.
Gratefulness shows an appreciation of a gift given; often one that is unearned. Some call this “grace.” Receiving grace is a difficult thing for most people (I know it is for me). In my natural state, I like to feel that I deserve what I have, whom I’m with, and the experiences I accumulate. But check that. The Bible is replete with statements that counter such entitlement. For example, God is the source of “every good and perfect gift.” The great New Testament author Paul asks, “What do you have that you have not received?” There it is.
But, just like God is prone to do, the Bible continues the point a little further. “With great privilege comes great responsibility.” It seems grace requires a response. And by require, I’m not sure that I mean there are strings attached. More and more, I believe this response – this responsibility — comes from a deep understanding of the grace we have received, not necessarily from an obligatory back and forth social condition. The realization that what you have is not your own, earned on your own merit, not only frees you up to give generously to others but compels you to extend your gratefulness in the form of grace to others, be it the gift of a smile, tangible resources, or even forgiveness. It seems to completely change our view of life and all our complexity.
My question for you is not simply what are you grateful for, but how has your gratefulness changed your behavior? This is not a cosmic question sent out into the void, either. I would love to see your responses.
Daryl Geffken’s writings focus on topics including global and international issues of disparity, church organization and leadership practices.
Quick correction: A good friend pointed out my use of quotation marks seems to suggest that the phrase “With great privilege comes great power” comes from the Bible. This is not accurate according to the versions I reference. The phrase should not have been in quotes. I was paraphrasing Luke 12:48, where Jesus says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” Thanks to all who are reading. And thanks even more for folks keeping me accurate and honest!
Love God, love others,
Thanks for the correction Daryl!