by Lamar King
As we approach Thanksgiving in our “Year of Impact,” it’s hard to think of
any greater impact than a life lived in gratitude. Sounds trite, but when you stop and really think about it – it’s so true. In high school when the Lord captured my heart, a friend shared 3 powerful verses with me that we also recently memorized as a team at Bare Wealth. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I find that being joyful and giving thanks is fairly easy when things are going well. I also find I pray more when things aren’t going well. But the power of Christ shines most and carries the most impact when we do these things both when life is going well AND when life stinks. This is not fake happiness or empty one-liners, but a dependency on and a deep-rooted belief in WHO is with us, WHO is the righteous judge, WHO wins in the end, and WHO loves our loved ones better than we can.
An excellent example of living this way was the apostle Paul. While in prison he wrote to the church in Philippi and said, “At the moment I have all I need – and more!” (4:18) Can you actually imagine saying that?! Throughout this entire book he reminds the Philippians of what is most important, where their focus should be and to “shine like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (2:15) Rejoicing and gratitude are a recurring theme throughout Philippians – what an impact that must have made on the readers! (and should on us today!)
The picture at the top of this post was hanging on the dining room wall of a hotel we stayed at in Salina, KS this summer and I had to take a picture of it. As I researched the author, I found she is someone with a deep history of pain and addiction yet out of that darkness learned the power of gratitude. Though it does not take long to find great quotes about gratitude online, a life lived in gratitude is a rare jewel.
As we approach Thanksgiving, may the season be a catalyst for us all to change our thoughts about things both in and out of our control and may we grow more and more in gratitude for ALL circumstances. God does not call us to something that is impossible – as we pray continually, He will renew our minds so that our life of gratitude will produce joy in us and impact in those we interact with.