Published on January 16th, 2018 | by John Locke0
THE POWER OF GRATITUDE
Building Our ‘Gratitude Muscles’
Why is it important to place gratitude ahead of just about every other personal quality in our lives?
When our world is falling apart all around us, how do we find the courage and the will to be grateful?
Why are we commanded, in fact, to be “grateful in all things”?
Gratitude is, in truth, a skill, one that we need to learn to master, one of the most important we should develop in our lives.
Being grateful for “things” is not what we’re talking about here. Worldly possessions can never lead to true joy. “He who dies with the most toys, wins!” is a false principle. More so, it’s insidious.
As well, true gratitude is the beloved twin brother or sister to humility. For, a grateful heart is the beginning of greatness, and I also believe, wisdom.
One of the best activities that we can do during time with our family and friends is the “Blessing Basket Game.” You take a basket and place it on the floor in front of everyone and then each person thinks about the past day (or week) and try to think of one blessing each. Each person writes his blessing on a 3X5 card and drops it in the basket. Then everyone pulls a blessing out of the basket and reads it. Each person tries to identify who wrote each “blessing.” Finally, the person who wrote that blessing explains how different his or her life might be without it. Try to envision what your life would be, and how your world would change, without certain blessings in your life.
As we develop the skill of Gratitude we begin to understand that the true power, and real worth, of this quality is that it enables the Spirit to work in our lives. God loves us and wants us to be happy. The principle of gratitude, as directed, encouraged, even commanded by the Lord, helps enable the Plan of Happiness to work within each of us.
Jesus related in The Story of the One Grateful Leper that his gratitude was his perfect expression of his faith in God. Lacking a sincere gratitude is synonymous with devaluing a divine blessing, and in the case of the Savior, devaluing his mission in our behalf. Gratitude is always an expression of our faith, in someone else for whom we are grateful, but mostly in God.
That is perhaps the least understood truth in life regarding Faith and Gratitude and how they work hand-in-hand.
Gratitude in trials is an expression of our belief that from trial will spring God’s richest blessings and deepest wisdom. The true test of the sincerity of our gratitude always comes during personal trials in life. God gives us commandments and trials partly to have opportunities to exercise our Free Will, to fill our personal “courage and experience quiver,” and strengthen our faith in Providence in an uncertain world.
Gratitude was meant to be a character trait, and a way of life, which stands independent of our current status (financially, materially, health-wise, and with our personal and professional relationships and successes, etc.).
We were not meant to be grateful only for things we have, and blessings we are given, but for our current state in life, no matter where or what that happens to be. In our current state we put our trust in God. When all is said and done, we are in his hands. We work, we strive, we pray and hope for more, but in the end, we must learn to be grateful for what we have and what we are given. To some is given much; to others very little.
What matters is what you do with the cards you are dealt. That’s how we are measured, and blessed.
Being grateful to God in our current circumstances is a powerful statement of faith, and an inspiration to others. Genuine, humble Gratitude is faith in motion, trusting that God will reward us for our perseverance with greater blessings and opportunities.
We are, as children of an eternal God, not made for endings. As eternal beings we will never be comfortable with “endings.” Endings, as such, are not our destiny. There is much more to come, much more to learn.
Gratitude broadens our perspective, in this life and in the eternities; it clears our vision. It inspires humility and fosters empathy towards others. Gratitude is a catalyst for all Christ-like attributes.
A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues.
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:15–18).