What Manner of Man
(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)
By Richard M. Eyre
WEEK 8: GRATITUDE
How closely (perfectly?) gratitude equates with joy! Gratitude is joy. Awareness and appreciation are joy. Joy is gratitude and awareness and appreciation. Accomplishments, knowledge, even beliefs make us happy only as we respond to them with gratitude.
Our Savior’s whole life so brimmed with gratitude to his Father that it often flowed over. The great seventeenth chapter of John the Apostle is filled with acknowledgment of God and with thanksgiving. He gave thanks for bread (Mark 8:6, John 6:11) and, on the eve of his crucifixion, he thanked God for the cup (Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23). His apostles learned and emulated and preached his gratitude. Paul said that we should give thanks always for all things (Ephesians 5:20), and he understood the connections between gratitude and joy (1 Thessalonians 3:9).
Gratitude and appreciation are two of those rare and beautiful qualities (not quantities) of which we have more as we give away more. Our own supply of quantities (material, mammon) decreases as we give of our quantities to others; but our supply of each Christ-like quality (love, joy, testimony, gratitude) increases as we give of our supply to others.
Gratitude is warmth and light. Christ showed it to his Father, aroused it in others, and left it with us all as an example, along with a thousand daily blessings to apply it to.
We are quickly conscious of the lack of gratitude in others (particularly when it is us they own gratitude to), yet sometimes we seem completely unconscious of our lack of gratitude to God. Sadly, it is ourselves we rob—of the joy of gratitude.