Gratitude: An Attitude That Our Actions Will Show
As we ride down the road more often than not my children want to listen to music. Of course their favorite songs relate to something they have experienced with that song. One of the songs that they will immediately cheer for as my iPod shuffles is one we learned in Summer Camp this year. The opening phrase states “I’ll adjust my attitude to gratitude.” Since my children remember those words, we use them often at my house when people are showing off bad attitudes. Even so, we must be careful to help them to understand what our actions say about the attitude of our hearts. The truth is, I think we all need to remember just what our actions reveal about our attitudes.
The Greek word used in the New Testament for gratitude is one that could be literally translated good will. Gratitude thus is more than just an inward feeling. If one is grateful, he will in some way express that towards the one for whom he is grateful. In the world where we live sin presses in all around us. For those who succumb to the vile and deceptive temptations of their own flesh, it may not be the case that gratitude is an attitude they display. As Christians however, we must always be ready to display our gratitude towards a Sovereign God who not only so loved the world that he gave us Christ our Lord, but also that he works all things to our good and his glory.
To that end, a quick study of the places in the New Testament where the Greek word for gratitude is used reveals to us several clear patterns as to how our actions can testify to our gratitude towards God. Gratitude to God for our faith leads us to generously proclaim his goodness in 1 Cor. 14:16 and 1 Thess. 3:9. In 2 Cor. 4:15 makes clear that gratitude for God’s grace encourages us to generously seek to spread the gospel. When we see God generously supply for our needs 2 Cor. 9:11-12 testifies that a grateful heart will cheerfully give funds to others and thanks to God. Freedom in Christ over sinfulness like filthy talk, anxiety and deceit leads us to put off those activities in favor of gratitude given to God in passages like Eph. 5:4, Philippians 4:6, and Col. 2:7. As we are faced with the wickedness of this day we can gratefully pray and give thanks to God according to passages like Col. 4:2, 1 Tim 2:1, and 4:3-4 for his sovereign ability to save souls in spite of a sinful world.
If we desire to change our attitude to gratitude, there is no question that in all circumstances, with our mouths or with our material ability we will be generous towards one another. Why – because we have experienced such great generosity in Christ. After all it was Christ who ultimately and most fully showed his good will towards us. At great cost, even while we were yet sinners condemned unclean he came to pay the penalty for our sinfulness. So as we move into November when we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let us attempt to truly display an attitude of gratitude that the world can see. Let me give you just a few ways that you might consider how to show your gratitude.
- Make a donation to our “Giving Thanks for Our Staff” offering in the wrapped boxes on our entry tables until the end of November. By doing this you will be encouraging our staff to serve Christ more fully in the tasks they have been given by God.
- Prepare a testimony of how God has blessed you this year and let Pastor Steven know that you want to share it during our Give Thanks Service on 11/22/11. By doing this you will be encouraging others to trust Christ more fully as they see him work all things to good.
- Begin now to pray and set aside your gift for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering taken up 11/27/11 through 12/31/11. By doing this you will encourage the gospel spread to the ends of the earth so that more can give thanks for the Lord Jesus.
- Seek to faithfully share your thankfulness to God every day with your words and as often as you are financially blessed with your offerings. By doing this you will increase your own thankfulness while putting off foolish talking and worry.