Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready for the day, I was listening to our local news station. And, they played a commentary by Michael Josephson (Founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics), called “Character Counts.” The topic of yesteray’s commentary was, appropriately for this time of year, on gratitude. At the end of a story on his wife’s change of perspective on cooking and hosting a large family meal, he said,
“She taught me that gratitude is not always a spontaneous emotion; often, it’s a matter of choice. It’s a perspective of appreciation that doesn’t necessarily make life easier, but it always makes it better.”
Over the weekend, I began reading, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, a (great!) new book by several of the pastors from Sovereign Grace Ministries. When I picked it up last night, I opened to the chapter entitled “God, My Heart, and Stuff”. This chapter, as you might have guessed, addresses the sin of covetousness. Although we live in an incredibly materialistic and consumer-oriented culture, Dave Harvey offers several ways that we can guard our hearts against covetousness. One suggestion is to express specific gratitude. He says,
“Gratitude subverts greed. It’s an expulsive antidote to covetousness in the heart. Gratitude is not a feeling, and it isn’t based on present circumstances. It is recognition of our dependence on God and others – an act of humility that battles pride in our possessions. Grateful speech takes the attention off ourselves and places it on another, whether that’s the God of our salvation or the spouse who washes our clothes. Gratefulness is recognition that God is always good and always right in his dealings with us.” (pg. 110)
Mr. Josephson was partially right – gratitude is not a spontaneous emotion. But, for us as believers, it is more than just a choice…It is God’s will!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)