Have an attitude of gratitude

Published 9:04am Monday, October 28, 2013

By Rev. Kevin Kelly

There are a lot of qualities that we should manifest in our life. One quality often overlooked in our society is gratitude.

Gratitude is an act of our will and takes practice. Most people are not willing to put in the work; therefore, we have a society that continues to grow less and less grateful for the blessings in their lives.

It doesn’t come natural for most of us. We have to stay alive. We have to keep our eyes open and our hearts sensitive to what’s going on around us. And when something quickens our lives, we express gratitude for it.

Jesus encountered a lack of gratitude in Luke 17. Ten lepers (leprosy was a skin disease of Jesus’ day) saw Jesus and cried out for him to have mercy upon their dire situation. Jesus visited with them and sent them to the priest who would verify if they were cured. As they were traveling, each of them was healed.

Luke then records this outcome: “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

Only one out of ten returned. The other nine were set free from a dreadful disease, and none of them returned to thank Jesus. Why?

The main reason we become ungrateful for the blessings in our lives is forgetfulness. Donald Shelby writes, “In our hurried lives with so many pressing demands and frantic schedules, it is very easy to be so much on the run that we forget the benedictions that have blessed us, the gifts which have come to us, the love we’ve been privileged to share. Only later and sometimes too late do we realize all we have forgotten and how much we have lost in our frantic haste and preoccupation.”

We must take time to express gratitude for blessings big or small. This intentional act will lead us to a more joy-filled and thankful form of living.

Gratitude does not come easy. It is work.

There’s a story about a man who decided to sell his farm. He listed it with a realtor who asked the farmer to describe its selling points. The realtor even came out to look over the farm and take some photos of it.

In a few days he had an ad ready for the newspaper in a farm real estate digest and called to check it with the owner. After the realtor had read the ad, the farmer asked him to read it again. The realtor complied.

There was a silence on the other end, and then the farmer’s voice said, “I have changed my mind! I don’t want to sell the farm. Because you see, I have wanted a farm like that all my life.”

He realized that he had become complacent and ungrateful. Do you have an attitude of gratitude? If not, start working on it.

 

The Rev. Kevin Kelly is senior minister at First United Methodist Church in Wetumpka. 

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