By Nancy Strackany
During a visit to my sister in law’s, I was sitting on the lanai doing some reading when I overheard a neighbor on the phone. As she spoke I surmised that someone had just sent her flowers, and I was struck by her extravagant thanks. “Thank you, thank you so much, they are so beautiful. It was so thoughtful, it means so much…it is a beautiful bouquet, all different colors, different kinds, thank you, I really appreciate it!” I heard by her words how grateful she was.
I sort of wished I had been the one to have sent those flowers, her word and tone made the difference. I consider myself a polite, even grateful person but I knew this unseen person was saying something God wanted me to hear.
I put down my book and prayed, “Lord, make me more like that person, more like you want me to be. Help me a have a grateful heart, to be kind and generous, a loving person who expresses thankfulness to those around me, to You.”
Luke 17:15-17 says, “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?”
Jesus had just healed ten lepers and of the ten, only one turned back to show his gratitude. Scripture is filled with exhortations to be grateful. Paul reminds us, “give thanks for everything” Ephesians 5:20.
Giving thanks is not just about a feeling, Jesus expects us to express it. Unexpressed gratitude expresses ingratitude. Unexpressed gratitude feels like rejection, as if we are entitled, we deserve it. Unexpressed gratitude can choke the heart out of a relationship. Charles Stanley says, “to refuse to pay my debt of gratitude is to live with an inflated attitude of myself.”
The recent hurricane has caused many in our area to be thankful that we were spared. It gave us all an appreciation for so much that we take for granted; for me it was my husband for his hard work and preparation, and neighbors who shared their home with us as we rode out the storm together. I was grateful to God for His grace and mercy through it all, for sparing us when not all were spared. It’s caused me to pray, “Lord help me not forget Your goodness. Now that the storm has passed, help me continue to honor you with a humble and thankful heart.”
How are you cultivating gratitude in your life?