Cultivating a Grateful Heart

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

November 24, 2013

“Cultivating a Grateful Heart”

Scriptures: Philippians 4:4-9; Luke 17:11-19 

On Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving.  It has been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. I have mixed feelings about Thanksgiving being a national holiday. Now please do not get me wrong! I enjoy the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie; but I am concerned about delegating one day as a day to give thanks. As Christians I believe we are called to cultivate a grateful heart. 

 Here are some benefits:

1. Being a grateful person can INCREASE PERSONAL HAPPINESS.

If I walked out of this room and conducted a survey asking people to rate how happy they are on a scale of 1-10 (1 being least happy and 10 being most happy) the answers would probably be all across the scale. And if I asked a follow up question: “WHY?” most people would start telling me about their circumstances.   

Many people are under the impression that our happiness somehow depends upon how well things are going for us.  But really our happiness is determined by our attitude.

The apostle Paul wrote these words from prison “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice (Philippians 4:4).  Paul was happy despite being in prison because he learned to thank God for everything.

2. It will enhance your relationships / improve your witness for Christ. People will just like to be around you.

How do we cultivate a grateful heart?

Remember that everything we have is from God . The story is told of a poor man who was given a loaf of bread. He thanked the baker, but the baker said, “Don’t thank me. Thank the miller who made the flour.” So he thanked the miller, but the miller said, “Don’t thank me. Thank the famer who planted the wheat.”

So he thanked the farmer. But the farmer said, “Don’t thank me. Thank God. God gave the sunshine and the rain and fertility to the soil and that’s why we have bread to eat.”

 The people in the story understood the point Paul was trying to make when he posed this question to the church in Corinth: what do you have that you did not receive from God? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?  (1 Corinthians 4:7)

When we realize that everything we have comes from God we become more grateful.

Avoid complaining!  Complaining and thanksgiving cannot exist together. So we need to quit complaining.  Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)  But that’s not always the easiest thing to do

Develop a daily discipline of giving thanks

Make it a habit

Everyday look for 3 reasons to give thanks.  You cannot repeat the reasons. Here’s  my list for today: I am thankful to the person who provided  this nice glass of cold water, I am thankful for this beautiful sanctuary and I am thankful for each one of you.  Tomorrow there will be a new list; but that won’t happen automatically, I’ll need to keep my eyes open and pay attention to all the blessings God has provided.   When we develop this habit of giving thanks for three new things each day, we will find we are no longer taking our blessings for granted. And day by day we will discover we have a grateful heart.