Gratitude for Granted?

  • March 13, 2015
  • #8575

Give thanks to God with gratitude for all things, from mighty miracles to small daily blessings.

Gratitude for Granted?

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a word about gratitude. Yesterday as I was wheeling up the front path to our house, I stopped my wheelchair underneath the shadowy branches of our tree in the front yard just beginning to show the first signs of spring. There are no leaves yet, but there are these green little buds on the branches. And when the wind moved the branches, the shadows crisscrossed each other on the ground, making a fascinating design. It was almost mesmerizing. I looked up, drew in a deep breath; the air was cool and crisp, the sky was spring-blue, and our neighborhood was so quiet. Ken was waiting for me, standing by the front door, and I called him outside. I said, “Come here sweetheart.” And when he walked over, I told him, “Look at this, look. Isn’t God great to give us such a beautiful day?” Ken put his hand on my shoulder and stood next to me for a couple of long minutes as we both pointed out things that delighted us, even, as I said, those few green buds sprouting on the branches.

I was so glad when my husband agreed that, yes, it was indeed a beautiful day, a day for which to thank God. And it’s funny, and both Ken and I observed this, it was amazing to us how full of joy we were over, well… what seemed to be a rather plain, ordinary late-winter – almost early spring – afternoon. I guess our joy overflowed because we did not take the day for granted; the beauty of it all reminded us that the afternoon was a gift from God. It was G.K. Chesterton who once said, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted, or take them with gratitude.” Boy, I tell you, Chesterton definitely hit the nail on the head. Do we take things for granted? Or do we take them with gratitude? Isn’t that a great quotation of his?

But the Bible came up with the idea first. For God's Word tells us in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, to “in everything give thanks.” Then it says virtually the same thing in Ephesians chapter 5, “Always [and I love that word, always; not just some of the time; not just when something extraordinary happens]; no, we are to always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And don’t you love that word “everything”. Not just some things, or the things that are out of the ordinary, but everything.

So today, friend, let the Holy Spirit open up the eyes of your heart, because there are glories and graces all around you; all of them disguised as everyday blessings; blessings that are oh, so miraculous. And it’s my prayer that God will open your eyes to not only delight in these blessings, but to articulate, to thank Him out loud for each and every one. For instance, here’s another great quote from Chesterton. Listen to what he says:

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?”—G.K. Chesterton

Boy, I sure identify with that one – being paralyzed! So please, today, get in the practice of always giving thanks to God for everything. It’s what G.K. Chesterton got in the habit of doing. And he also wrote:

“You say grace before meals. All right, but I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”—G.K. Chesterton

There you go; there you have it. A great example of always giving thanks in everything. So, look around you because I just know there are small blessings, little joys.  Tiny hints of God’s favor today, for which you can be grateful. Don’t take things for granted today. Take them with gratitude.

© Joni and Friends


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