Luke tells a story of 10 men who met Jesus and were healed as He was traveling near the border of Galilee and Samaria. They asked Him to take pity on them. He told them to go show themselves to the priest. “And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘We’re not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God?'” (Luke 17:11-18)
Thankfulness does not come naturally. Human nature is selfish, quick to complain and forget, and quicker to criticize. We tend to judge ourselves on our good intentions, and others on their actions. It takes decided effort, and a refusal to be cynical about life, to have a grateful heart. Thankfulness puts an end to ungratefulness. It eliminates envy, dissatisfaction and a sense of entitlement. When we are thankful, we are grateful for life!
Gratitude creates a desire to give in return. Our lives become fuller, richer and more complete. A. Arrien said, “When people in great numbers choose to practice, integrate and embody gratitude, the cumulative force generated can help create the kind of world we all hope for and desire, for ourselves and for future generations.”
Jesus said if we will put into practice His teaching, we will have much joy and be fruitful. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love… These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:8-11)
Gratitude changes the way we look at life. To be thankful is to recognize the goodness of God, and to see something of Him in our fellow human beings. Gratitude creates within us a desire to give in return. Life becomes fuller, richer and more complete. It is lovely to consider thankfulness the highest form of thought. G. K. Chesterton said, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
“We live the given life, and not the planned.” This was taken from a poem inspired by Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” What if we received life as a gift? A blessed gift that inspires wonder and gratitude! Suppose we were determined to care, to love and to give, instead of take. Imagine how very different the world might be if we refused to be selfish and indifferent. With all my heart, I believe God is pleased when we recognize His goodness and count our many blessings. I also think thankfulness has a profound affect on our attitude and perspective of life. Gratitude colors our personalities with light and joy!
When we consider our lives a beautiful gift from God, we are inspired to reach out with love and compassion to others. Friendships are treasured and we value every moment shared together. Gratitude opens our hearts to learn and to grow, and thankfulness causes us to cherish life itself as a priceless gift.
The best way to live is the thankful way! As often as possible, count your blessings and recognize God’s goodness. Do something to bless and help others. As G. K. Chesterton said, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (Thessalonians 5:18)
(Photo credit: © Jacek Chabraszewski – Fotolia.com.)