The Power of Gratitude
"When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?" --G.K. Chesterton
Have you ever given thought to the blessed privilege we have as Christians to thank God for our existence and our salvation? Feeling thankful or grateful makes a good case for the very existence of God. Moments of gratitude naturally cause us to look to someone outside of or beyond ourselves.
The evolutionist, the humanist, and the naturalist literally have no basis from which to thank anyone. Their worldview is not built with this type of scaffolding, and they ought to feel all out robbed as a result. They may experience the sentiment of thankfulness, of course; but after that, it's a dead-end street as they have no higher source to offer praise. They are left quite bankrupt.
I think this is in part what Chesterton is saying. Sure, we can all (no matter our worldview) thank others for their kind actions toward us (like giving us gifts and goodies), but to whom do we thank for the deeper things like the miracle of existence itself or the fact that we are alive and well today? The evolutionist comes up short here, completely cut off from having anyone to thank.
Why do you think that God tells us repeatedly to be grateful? I think He does this so we will remember our salvation and the grace we received from Him. Think about the connection. The act of receiving grace produces gratitude deep in our hearts. They are inseparable.
In the Old Testament Hebrew, thanksgiving is linked to "confession." To whom do we confess our sins? There must be someone outside ourselves who sits in judgment over our human nature and behavior; otherwise our confession is mute.
In Greek, the word for "gratitude" or "thankfulness" is eucharistia. The Eucharist is the Christian rite of communion in which we partake the Eucharistic symbols of bread (Jesus' body) and wine (His blood) during the "Lord's Supper." We receive forgiveness for our sins (grace) for which we are immeasurably grateful to God as the Giver of this grace. In receiving grace, we have Someone to thank. With hearts filled with thanksgiving, we commune with our Lord.
I would go so far as to say that without God to thank, life is void of significance. We are left bereft and adrift when we have no one to thank. Yet, when we come under His Spirit and choose to thank the One who freely gave His Son so that we might live, suddenly we are overwhelmed by gratitude and our life has meaning beyond measure. We thank Him continually through confession and communion.
When we thank God for the legs we have to put into stockings each morning, we are reaffirming our faith. We are orienting ourselves to do good works for Him and for His glory. We are declaring that as Christians, we are in relationship with Someone far greater than ourselves. There is much power and blessing in fostering a grateful heart; so let us give thanks today.
I will praise the name of God with song
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