Monday, November 22, 2010

The Tension of Gratitude

I am taking part in Rachel Olsen's Devotional Carnival on gratitude, a natural topic for this time of year. But, I have to admit, this topic gives me a little tension. Not that I'm not grateful for the life I live. On the worldy side of things, I am extremely blessed. I am able to be a stay at home mom which I recognize is somewhat of a luxury these days. I am grateful that we have a warm house, food in the pantry, cars that run, one for each of us even, and our health. I have a lot to be grateful for, recognizing that God has blessed us richly. Just  watching the 6:00 news reminds me that I live in this little utopia.

Can you feel the tension rising? I read somewhere that the enemy to a great life is a good life. Living a life where we don't have to struggle much makes it very easy to grow complacent. Of course I realize that all good things come from above (James 1:17), but sometimes, it is easy to let a prayer of gratitude turn into the Pharisee's prayer of thanking God that you aren't like "them". Whoever "they" are...I don't want my recognition of the blessings God has bestowed on us to seem superior to the life He has set someone else into. Does that make any sense? For whatever reason, God, in His Sovereignty, has set me in this place, in this time, in this circumstance. If I had been born in the slums of Haiti, He would still want me to have a grateful heart.

While I'm busy being grateful for the life I have, the people I love, and the God who saved me, I want to remember that gratitude is a state of being, not a state of circumstance.


  1. 'There but the Grace of God go I' - its always humbling to put yourself in someone else's shoes. May we walk each day in a spirit of gratitude no matter how rough the journey gets.

  2. I love your comment, "Gratitude is a state of being, not a state of circumstance." This is so true! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Good perspective as always. Thanks!

  4. I am learning this in this season I am in, to be content in whatever circumstance I am in not just when things are going my way. May my life never to get to the point where I never have a struggle and I grow complacent. Thank you my friend.

  5. May my good life never get in the way of the great life my Father has in store for me. What a wonderfully thought provoking post!

    Happy Thanksgiving,

  6. The Pharasees' problem was that they followed God with their lips and actions, but their hearts were far from Him. That's what Jesus said.

    So I think the key to obeying the many biblical calls to give thanks and to be content and joyful - without growing complacent or feeling entitled - is to keep our hearts close to Him. And to share our blessings with others.

    This a was a great, thought-provoking post. Thanks for linking this up!

    Happy Thanksgiving ~ Rachel

  7. Wow, what a fantastic, well-written post. I love, love, love your last line (as others have said here). That grateful heart can take us so many places in living our lives to share God's love!