1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Guess what? You are invited to my party…it’s a pity party. You bring the ‘whine’, I’ll supply the complaints. I admit it, I have spent my share of time thinking…why me?…why not me?…woe is me….I deserve it! Who’s with me? Actually, it’s easy for most of us to fall into that trap and sometimes, not so easy to crawl out of it. But good news, God has the remedy. Gratitude!
Are we thankful? Do we say thanks? Do we show that we are grateful to each other? To God? When we were little, our parents taught us to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Now, I find that some people have your address to send a birthday party invitation, but don’t have that address to send a thank you! We think we are entitled. We deserve this or that. Think about it this way. I am so glad God does NOT give us what we deserve. I DESERVE death, and so do you. We are all sinners. In Psalm 103:10 it says, He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Thank God! He is merciful and shows us grace, That’s why we should be grateful.
I am talking to myself here…I mean, I am such a sucker sometimes. Something happens, and let the festivities begin…I am ruminating on why, what I will do about it, and all the justifications as to why this should not be! One day, one of my daily devotions was about gratitude. About how you should start prayer with thanking God. It helps shift your focus back on to God and not on the petty issues that rob your joy.
Eight years ago, we had a house built. We did our leg work, researched the builder and worked our deal. Long story short, not long after we moved in, the housing market crashed and our builder (who is also our next door neighbor), never fixed anything that went wrong with our home which should have been covered under our home warrantee. Some of the issues were costly and this was a brand new home! One thing my father taught me was honesty. You just simply did not lie. So, being raised by a man with integrity, I guess I figured everyone was like that. Sadly, it robbed my joy, I was raising my kids in a great neighborhood and school district. When I changed the way I prayed….gratitude first….I suddenly started looking at my house differently. Instead of seeing the things that had to be fixed, I was seeing the lovely home God blessed us with.
Which led to more gratitude. On my morning dog walks, I started thanking God that I COULD walk. That I could see the lovely creation he made for us, That we had a home to live in with heat and shelter. As a matter of fact, do you have a toilet in your home? You are blessed! Sixty percent of people in the world don’t have a toilet. When is the last time we thanked God for that, huh? Don’t get me wrong, I still throw my party once in awhile. But I have learned to snap out of it quicker and refocus on being grateful for things big and small.
Try it with me. Let’s focus on gratitude first, thanking God for all things and then talking to him about our needs. It will change your heart, it will change your attitude. We all are blessed by the God of the universe and that is a priceless gift to be grateful for, Sorry, the pity party is cancelled!
Dear Lord God, forgive us when we whine and complain, Forgive us when we are ungrateful and focus on the wrongs and not the blessings. Thank you for your patience and for your mercy. We pray that you would help us to focus on you and to spend prayer time thanking you for how you provide for us and for not giving us what we deserve. Amen