Written by Andrea Nwabuike of Brampton, ON
I tend to be an excitable person. When a song I like comes on the radio, I’ve been known to shout like I’m in the front row of a concert, belting out the lyrics (or at least my version of the lyrics) at the top of my lungs. While my appreciation for music is immediately apparent to all, other simple pleasures such as delicious food, beautiful sunsets, nice weather and samples at Costco get me going like a kid in a candy store. Oftentimes, I catch myself in these blissful moments and I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the small wonders of life. Isn’t it a blessing to experience the creativity of another human being? Isn’t the concept of taste buds mind blowing? And how can you not get excited by free samples?!
But, eventually the song ends or I finish my meal; the lady giving out samples gives me a dirty look, warning me to buy her stuff or move on. These triggers of excitement are momentary and fleeting. The sense of gratitude leaves as quickly as it came, only to be replaced by complacency, envy and dissatisfaction.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to saturate our lives in gratitude; but the gratitude we are meant to practise is altogether different from the trendy concept that has found favour in North America. As Christians, our gratitude must be rooted in our worship of God. When the sun has set and dark clouds are looming, I can still give thanks because I know the unchanging God who set the sun in the sky. I am called “friend” by the one who invented taste buds and creativity and all the things that bring me pleasure in this life. I am thankful because of who God is, not just what he has given me.
“When the sun has set and dark clouds are looming, I can still give thanks because I know the unchanging God who set the sun in the sky.”
Pastor Matt Chandler, in his book The Explicit Gospel (Crossway, 2012), puts it this way, “We worship God when, while we partake of his good gifts, something occurs in the deepest parts of our soul that forbids glory terminating on the gift itself or on our enjoyment of it but that runs deeper into and extends out to the Giver.”
This is a holy gratitude — a gratitude that brings God glory as the very purpose of our lives. When our gratitude is not rooted solely in the good gifts we have been given, but rather on the giver of those gifts, we will experience a gratitude that lasts.