Have you ever been around grumpy old men? Does it make your heart sing to be with cranky old women who criticize everything and everyone?
Do you enjoy hanging out with ungrateful children? Ungrateful children often become grumpy old men and cranky old women.
As a parent, I tried to teach my children to say please and thank you. But I know those are only words. True gratitude comes from a change of heart.
4 Reasons Why Gratitude is Important
#1: One of the reasons gratitude is important is it protects us. I doubt any of us want to intentionally end up being cranky old women or grumpy old men. The cure is gratitude. I was tempted to say “salvation,” but I know plenty of cranky Christians. Have you ever heard of the Frozen Chosen! Need I say more?!
True gratitude does flow from a genuine work of the Holy Spirit. Behavior modification can change your attitudes and responses, but it can’t change the core of who you are. Only God can do that.
That’s why one of my prayers during this 90-Day Gratitude Challenge will be:
“Lord, teach me to be grateful in all things.”
Some of you may be bothered by the fact I said salvation isn’t the cure to ungratefulness. I actually do believe it’s the ultimate cure. Only with a new heart can we become eternally grateful. But I believe the Holy Spirit must change our minds and hearts so that we are not only grateful for our salvation, which we all know we don’t deserve, to becoming grateful for everything we have, which we also don’t deserve, even though we think we do.
#2: Not only does gratitude protect us from becoming caustic Christians, but it also creates the opposite effect of making us Christlike. Do you think Jesus was ungrateful? Even though he made everything and deserved the praise of all mankind, he returned thanks for each meal and, I suspect, he was gracious to every host.
#3: Grateful people are more selfless. They are easy to be with because they are focused on others. They lighten a room as they make everyone feel welcome and important. They tend to repel ungrateful people who find gratefulness irritating, shallow, and irresponsible.
#4: Gratitude makes it easier to let go of things that don’t matter. When you are grateful for everything in your life you can agree with Job,
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21 NLT)
I’ve spent time with the poorest of the poor in Kenya, India, and Haiti. Some of these friends were more grateful than the billionaires I’ve met. They treasured each and every gift.
Possessions don’t make you great and they certainly don’t make you grateful. But if you are grateful for your possessions, you can indeed become great.
So why is gratitude so important? It makes us more attractive and less caustic. It makes us more selfless and frees us from becoming demanding and encumbered by possessions.
May God teach us what Paul learned, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12 NIV).
In your Gratitude Journal, I encourage you to write down 3 reasons why it’s important for you to become more grateful. Then look around you and write down three things for which you’re thankful today.
Father, I thank you for giving me blessings I don’t deserve, blessings I can see, and blessings I will one day discover. I pray you will teach me to be more grateful for all you’ve given me from the gift of salvation to my daily bread and the clothes on my back. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit and may your spirit fill me with gratitude in an increasing measure. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.