Gratefulness, Yes; But to Whom?
Reading: Psalm 50
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me…The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who ordered his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
Gratefulness is a virtue that’s caught on lately. There are gratitude journals and gratitude meditations and so on. The idea is that if you are more grateful that you will be happier. And they’re probably right.
But it always struck me as odd that a person would have feelings of gratefulness but without any object. That is, they are thankful, yes; but to whom?
I think the habit of maintaining the gratefulness while excluding the person to whom you would be grateful is another symptom of what Os Guinness calls our “cut-flower civilization.” We want to have the fruits of our Judeo-Christian roots; but we’d rather be rid of where we got them.
But of course, cut-flowers don’t last. They look pretty for a while and you can keep them alive for longer with fresh water and plant food. But eventually, disconnected from their roots, they will wither and die.
That’s why repentance is vital. It is a return to the soil, back to the way of life as ordered by God. Repentance is turning again to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to the person, the object of our gratefulness. True worship is to attribute the good gifts of God, particularly those in Jesus, to the God who gave them. It is to be thankful, not just in general, but to God above.
Creator of the World and Giver of Life, thank you for securing our foundations and for rooting us in Jesus Christ. Thank you for giving up your only Son so that we might be called sons and daughters of the living God. Thank you that we have the hope that all things will be made new. Thank you even for the disciplines that you bring into our lives, making us more like Jesus.