An Attitude of Gratitude // M-Note 11.20.2020

I often say that gratitude is like penicillin for our soul. It helps us overcome a variety of ills. Anger, despondency, self-centeredness, anxiety, isolation, and cynicism can all change as we practice gratitude. But, it is hard to think about thanksgiving in the midst of a year like 2020. As a pandemic continues to rage, affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, it is tempting to look around and wonder what there is to be thankful for. Is gratitude just one of those spiritual platitudes that doesn’t take reality seriously?
No. Not the gratitude that scripture talks about. Instead, biblical gratitude was taught and practiced by communities that knew hardship well. Early Christians were isolated, persecuted, sometimes arrested, and even killed. They lived under a foreign ruler and were often ostracized in their own communities. When they encouraged gratitude, they knew that life was hard. And yet, gratitude can often make the biggest impact on our life in the midst of hardship.
What does gratitude do?
  • Gratitude stifles anger, blunts frustration, and helps us to have better relationships, especially with difficult people.
  • Gratitude combats anxiety by reminding us of what is secure, present, and stable in our life. 
  • Gratitude reminds us of how resilient we are, fueling hope for hard days.
  • Gratitude turns us inside out, focusing us towards God and others therefore helping us in our isolation.
  • Gratitude changes our perspective and breaks the habit of focusing on what we don’t have and what isn’t right by turning us towards what we do have and what is right.
But, gratitude isn’t always easy, and we need to be deliberate about it. I hope you will join me in worship this weekend as I talk about gratitude during hard times. This is a great opportunity to invite a friend or family member to listen, as well. As always, you can catch us live on Sunday mornings at 8, 9, 10, or 11am, worship with us OnDemand or subscribe to The Gathering podcast.
Have a good weekend, stay close to home, wear a mask, stay healthy, and hang in there. You are not alone.
P.S. Thank you so much to all of you that made a financial commitment to The Gathering for the next year. Your giving fuels our ministry and makes everything our church does possible. You can listen to last weekend’s message here. If you haven’t yet made a financial commitment, I hope you will still “Say Yes” to giving at The Gathering. You can fill out a pledge card online. 
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