It is Thanksgiving weekend, but believe it or not, that is not why I am talking today about gratitude. If you are following along in our Bible reading, video watching schedule called the 2020 Southwest Bible Project, then you know last week, I preached from the books of Galatians and Ephesians.
We spoke of the grace of God.
Here is the deal: when you really grasp the grace of God, when you really come face to face with its unadulterated goodness and power, when you finally accept that it is real, and available, to everyone, including you, there is only one response that a human being is capable of...
I am a bit angry as I type this. Angry because simply typing the word gratitude is so inadequate to express what I mean. Let me try again...
When I dwell on grace, and allow God the time and openness that He deserves from me for Him to explain it, my gratitude is not a "thank you card sent in the mail, or an obligatory thank you, God" at the end of a stoic prayer. My breath goes away. My eyes grow wide in disbelief, an unremovable smile appears on my face as I shake my head with "hard-to-believe" acceptance, a hop in my step happens when I walk (my old body even wants to run, just because the energy created cannot be contained), people ask me why I'm in such a good mood everywhere I go, no problem I face seems to squelch my joy, or discourage my spirit, and I look for ways to bless people, to tell people, to show people some sort of love and grace myself, no matter how small or great.
Why? Because I am grateful. Great-full, maybe.
This last week we read two more books of Paul, Philippians and Colossians, and after last week's focus, I could not help but respond by seeing these kind of statements in these two little books:
Phil 4:6-7 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Col 1:12-14 - "[We are] giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
When I am connected, I am grateful, I effortlessly look for how to show that gratitude. Let's explore that today.