Grace and Gratitude

Grace and Gratitude“Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.”   –2 Corinthians 4:15

Gratitude and grace, they just seem to go together.  Both derived from the Latin word gratis, gratitude is our response to grace.

When someone does something unexpected for us we express our thanks with gratitude, but if we have a grateful attitude, we say thank you even when things are expected.

When we dine at a restaurant, we thank the waiter for refilling our water glass and serving our meal even though it is expected and we are paying for it.  An attitude of gratitude adds to a good feeling.

But, ask any server and you will find that not everyone says “thank you.”  Many people from our entitlement generation don’t even acknowledge their server.  Waitresses will tell you that these people are generally unhappy about everything.

Medical science tells us that there is an inverse relationship between gratitude and entitlement. The person with an “attitude of gratitude” has multiple health advantages over those who feel a sense of entitlement.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”  –Zig Ziglar

And, what about our relationship with God, are we grateful for all that we have?  Or are we constantly unhappy because we don’t possess everything we want and are jealous of others who have something we don’t.

Our deepest sense of gratitude comes from grace.  We are grateful when we realize that all that we have been given was not earned or deserved.  Gratitude is our response to God’s amazing grace.  To live in God’s grace is to be grateful.  And, when we are grateful we are graceful.

Gratitude is a lifestyle!

However, grace comes with a price.  When we are grateful for all that God has done for us, our grateful response is to be generous to others who have little.  When we think of all that we have our response must be to help others.  If not, that is a cheap grace.   Want to be happy?  Turn your gratitude into generosity!

Here are some benefits of grace and gratefulness:

  • Gratitude helps us cope with trauma and stress. I am always impressed with people suffering from a terminal illness.  Instead of dwelling on their illness they express their gratitude.  They really appreciate all that they have and focus their attention on what makes them feel grateful.  They know that family, friends, and their faith are gifts from God, undeserved or earned, and in their gratitude our Lord showers them with grace.
  • Gratitude builds our bonds between others and especially God. When someone gives us a gift we are drawn to them.  Our relationship grows.  And, we want to share this feeling by blessing others, by paying it forward. The same is true for our relationship with God. The more we are grateful for what God has given us, the closer we are to Him.  We are drawn to God and want to share God’s blessings with others.

“All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” — James 1:17

  • Gratitude eliminates jealousy for others good fortunes. A lack of gratitude for what we have is the main cause of jealousy when a friend or relative has something we covet. A promotion at work, a new car, an honor received sets off a feeling of jealousy and causes us to concentrate on what we don’t have instead of being grateful for what we do. When we have a grateful attitude we are happy for their good fortune.
  • Gratitude helps us to enjoy life. When we concentrate on what we have, especially those things that are unearned or undeserved, our attitude of gratitude will promote happiness.  It will cause us to savor life, and enjoy family and friends with a deeper love and appreciation.  Anger, bitterness, resentment are all replaces by happiness, joy, and grace.

    “Celebrate what you want to see more of,” –Tom Peters.

  • Gratitude makes us want to help others. When you feel the grace that comes from being grateful you will want to be a gift to others, serve others, and help them on their life journey.  You will want them to feel the same joy that you do.

Yes, grace and gratitude just go together.  The more God blesses us with His grace the more grateful we are.  And, the more grateful we are the more God sends us His amazing grace.  Let’s make gratitude our lifestyle!

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