“Always give thanks to God… for everything.” Ephesians 5:20 (NCV) The concept of “gratitude” in Scripture was something that usually appeared only seasonally on the radar screen of my heart. But then I began to pay more attention to how often it appeared in the teachings of the New Testament and even how integral it was to some of my all-time favorite Bible promises such as Philippians 4:6-7 (“…with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ) As funny as it sounds, I realized that I had taken gratitude for granted.
My personal attitude of gratitude began to awaken when I first read some insights on the subject from Erwin McManus. While working with needy people in the community of his church, it became apparent after a long period of time that, in spite of meeting a lot of needs, they rarely made progress in the hearts of those they helped. It finally dawned on him- what seemed to be missing in so many of their hearts… was gratitude. He discovered that gratitude was the portal through which we become whole, happy people who are able to truly receive both the love of God and the love of others; AND, are able to give love in return.
That has enormous applications for pastors in recovery as well. I began to realize that the more my attitude of gratitude, the more I “always give thanks to God… for everything,” the healthier my recovery will be. The more I have an attitude of gratitude, then the more I am able to freely receive of the love of God and others. And, the more my attitude of gratitude, the more freely I am able to give of my love to others.
All that is to say, truly, have a Happy Thanksgiving!