by Warren Berkley
“Gratitude,” said G. K. Chesterton, “is the mother of all virtues.”
Higher authorities echo the vital role of gratitude: “In everything give thanks” (1 Thes 5:18) and “enter His gates with thanksgiving” (Psa 100:4).
Gratitude does at least three good things. When directed to God, it places the glory where it should be, in Him. “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor 1:31). In the absence of sincere gratitude to God, one can gradually slip into an ugly moral spiral (Rom 1:21). “A true Christian is a man who never for a moment forgets what God has done for him in Christ, and whose whole comportment and whole activity have their root in the sentiment of gratitude.” (John Baillie)
Further, gratitude is good for our emotional health. The habit of grumbling and complaining comes from and further fuels an inner bitterness that can make you miserable. It is hard to get an angry outburst from a grateful heart filled with joy and praise. “Thankfulness is the air conditioner of the soul. It blows out the stale overheated air and brings cool refreshing breezes to the soul.” (Phil Pringle)
Third, gratitude encourages the people you thank, causing them to realize they have contributed some good to others. You are honoring good people and telling them they matter. Paul is anxious to express his thanks to the Christians in Philippi (Phil 1:3), Rome (Rom 1:8), but he also told the troubled church at Corinth, he was thankful to God for them (1 Cor 1:4).
Let’s practice gratitude this week. The benefits are great.