Saturday, November 21, 2015

With a Grateful Heart

As our boys were growing up, it was important to teach them to be appreciative for the gifts they were given and to learn to express their gratitude.  Receiving and enjoying the present was just part of the process.  Thus, a check off list was compiled and the day after a birthday or Christmas they either drew a picture (when they were young) or expressed in writing their gratitude to the giver of their gift.  As they enjoyed their present, we wanted them to gratefully associate the gift with the giver.

A few months ago, Scott sent me an excerpt of N. T. Wright’s devotional commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-7a and said that it reminded him of what we had the boys do when they were growing up. 

Because, of course, there was a job to be done next day: writing thank-you letters. Many children have come to regard this as a chore, the unpleasant side of Christmas; but it is of course part of the essence of the whole thing. Teaching God’s free grace, and his gift of himself, by celebrating Christmas is one half of the story; teaching gratitude, and heartfelt thanksgiving, is the other half. Grace that doesn’t produce gratitude hasn’t succeeded in softening hard hearts.” N. T. Wright

That must be one of the reasons that in Psalm 100:4-5 David reminds us that we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, but it’s when we praise Him for who He is and acknowledge Him as the giver of all we have that we are invited into His courts.  This season, as we count our blessings, naming them one by one, may we be quick to acknowledge and thank the Giver.  May grace produce much gratitude.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 7:17

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15

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