What comes first, the gift or the gratitude? Do you think of gratitude as a reaction? I almost always think of being grateful for something. Does the gift always precede the gratitude? Or does gratitude inspire the gift?
We talk about giving at Christmas. Many in the Western world seem to be consuming products to give them to others. We want to give something equal to or greater than what we were given. We rush to slow down and we spend to give.
The First Gift
You are God’s idea. He chose to create you, gave you a free will, and then he watched you break your relationship with him. He came as a man, and died on a cross to pay for your rebellion and he works to keep you from the consequences of the failure we all experienced when we separated ourselves from him.
The First Blessing
Then, God asks us to be grateful. Gratitude and thankfulness are almost synonymous, so we will interchange them a bit in this post. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Our natural response to God for what he has done for us is gratitude. It flows beneath everything. God gave first by creating us and giving us a work to do. And he also gave first by dying on the cross to restore our relationship. Everything we do can begin with gratitude.
The Result of Gratitude
Gratitude lubricates us as we move through life. When we are thankful to God for the things that we experience, we take on God’s perspective and we align ourselves with his power. Jesus said in the world we would have trouble, but we should still take courage, because he has overcome the world (John 16:33). When we begin with gratitude we can accept his courage. As we trust God we can rest in his ability to deal with our circumstances. As we turn everything over to God in prayer, giving thanks, he gives us a peace that passes all comprehension (Philippians 4:6-7).
So, because we have been wonderfully created, and because we were God’s idea and because he is working for our good, we respond with gratitude. Our gratitude to God inspires us to give. Our “stuff” doesn’t produce happiness anyway.
Would you share something you’re grateful for below? Every grateful thought produces a spark of energy.