My husband and I recently adopted a sweet little puppy, aptly named "Puppet", through a rescue organization we support. This springy Malti-Poo has a sunny personality, and loves to wake us up with kisses and snuggles. It doesn't matter whether it's cloudy, rainy, gray, or bright: Puppet is focused on expressing his gratitude for being well-fed and warm, and that he gets to sleep in a bed, instead of a cage. Puppet somehow intuitively understands he has received a new lease on life with a family, as opposed to sure death in a shelter.
Time and expense were invested in this delightful animal in order to get him rescued and adopted. Puppet knows this, and he is forever Grateful--and his Gratitude does not waver, no matter what the time or season.
Christ died, so that we would not have to face sure death. He conquered sin's reign, so that we would not have to live our lives in its cage. We, too, have been adopted into a family where we are fed, warmed, and can rest in God's love and care. Do we wake up every morning Grateful? Or does the weather of circumstance and the cares of this life dampen, even diminish our thanksgiving?
On the road to the Cross, Jesus continually expressed Gratitude to the Father, always doing the works of the Kingdom, and showing us what the Father is like. In Matthew 11, as John the Baptist languished in prison, and John's followers expressed their misgivings, Jesus lifted thanks and showed us the heart of the Father. Jesus knew what John faced, and he knew what he would soon face; yet, he gave thanks. "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!"
The apostle Paul exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." How consistent is your Gratitude? Are you daily thankful for Salvation? Are you expressing Gratitude even when life is not what you wish it to be?
In this Lenten Season, it would be good to refocus on our Gratitude quotient: expressing thanksgiving for the road Jesus took to the Cross, for the price of Christ's shed Blood, and for our adoption into the family of God.
- Is your Gratitude consistent, or does it change with situation and circumstance?
- How can you daily honor Christ's sacrifice in the way you express Gratitude? How can you daily reflect the Kingdom to others?
- Begin this practice: Every morning, before you do anything else, recite three things you are Thankful for.