Gratitude – what it is and isn’t

Ellen Painter Dollar has an excellent post on gratitude, how it is misunderstood, and what it should look like in the lives of God’s people:

The danger for the Christian of today’s slickly marketed gratitude is that it tempts us to aim primarily for our own happiness and satisfaction. And Christianity has never been about making ourselves happy and satisfied. (The Limits of Gratitude.)

Her insights are thought-provoking, and even led me to come up with this thought on how we should not focus on whether others are making us happy, but rather we should focus on the person behind the gift.

giftThat “ubiquitous gratitude” (as Ellen puts it in her post) peddled in supermarket magazines and daytime talk shows can become thoughtless gratitude if the focus is on being grateful and not on the one to whom we should express our gratitude. Gratefulness should extend to the friend who stood by us, the child we delight in, our heavenly Father from whom every perfect gift is given.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights … . (James 1:17.)

True gratitude focuses on the giver, not the gift. Ultimately, that giver of anything good in your life is God himself. Expressing your gratitude to someone other than God for a good gift given is fine when done alongside your gratitude to God for being the original source of such gifts. In fact, telling that person of your gratitude is not only fine but godly in that it blesses them.

As the Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35.) It is a blessing to give thanks for what you have received as well.

***

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Gratitude – what it is and isn’t

  1. this helps: “Expressing your gratitude to someone other than God for a good gift given is fine when done alongside your gratitude to God for being the original source of such gifts.” I have a really hard time articulating how grateful to God I am.

    • Tim says:

      Me too, Nancy. His gifts are indescribably wonderful but, as with a child who gives simple thanks to mommy or daddy, I think God is pleased with our gratitude however we express it. And besides, we have the Holy Spirit who turns our prayers of gratitude into heavenly crafted praise. (Romans 8:26.) And that’s another thing I’m thankful for!

  2. Thanks for expanding on my post, Tim. As the “mom” of a cat who regularly brings us critters–sometimes only their heads or tails, in fact–I appreciated your illustration!

    • Tim says:

      Our dog once brought a squirrel to the back door for my wife. She didn’t love the dog less, but she did leave the squirrel for someone else to remove!

Talk to me (or don't)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s