Some Thoughts on Gratitude


Comedienne/actress Brett Butler was once asked why she had never had children. Her reply was: “I never want to be the object of that much ingratitude.”

Sure, kids can certainly operate in a high level of entitlement. (I know, I was one of those kids.) But you want ingratitude? Imagine what it is like for God.

God has a planet full of kids like me who go ridiculously long stretches of time without acknowledging all He has done.

The fact is, we all splash around daily in a heaven-sent shower of blessings, graces and mercies–with every single drop undeserved. Most of us have become so accustomed to the rain we’re oblivious to it. Instead, we’re frequently like the toddler who flies into a rage when a parent forcibly pulls him out of traffic or cries when the open bottle of Drano is taken away.

Perhaps that is why “thanksgiving” is such a prominent and potent word in Scripture. In the 100th Psalm we see that it is the key to the gates of God’s throne room. And in the New Testament we are repeatedly exhorted to mix thanksgiving with our prayers.

Could it be that gratitude is so spiritually powerful precisely because it is so exceedingly rare?

There’s a little exercise I have learned to do whenever I catch myself slipping into that bratty sense of entitlement and ingratitude. Would you like to learn it?

Take two fingers of your right hand and press the tips into the side of your neck. Find your your pulse. Once you’ve found it take note of one heartbeat and as you do, realize that it was a gift from God. Then note the next beat and note the same thing. And again. And again.

Now take a deep breath, feeling the life-giving air fill your lungs. Note that that breath was a gift of God. And the next. And the next.

It’s good to be alive.

Of course, I have so much more for which I’m profoundly grateful here on this Thanksgiving Day. A body that is whole and sound. A family that is, too. Useful, meaningful work to do. Friends, dear. Needs, abundantly met. And so much more.

Blessed? Oh, yes. Why look. . .it’s raining.

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