Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude and Perspective

Originally posted on Wednesday October 27, 2004

Ponder for a moment what Erwin McManus wrote in his book Uprising; “Perspective is not shaped in a vacuum; it is formed in the context of gratitude. An ungrateful person sees the glass as half-empty and wonders who is holding out on him. The grateful see the glass as half-full knowing that someone has shared with them more than they deserve.”

Gratitude informs our perspective on life. When we are grateful not only are we content with much less, but we also will have an optimistic outlook for the future. Contentment, peace, and hope are characteristics which define the grateful person.

What I have found to be amazing is the number of people in this country who are not grateful. We live in a country where food is plentiful, jobs are plentiful, medicine is plentiful, and education opportunities are plentiful. I know you can tell me about the unemployment, jobs going overseas, a shortage of flu vaccine, and a number of other bad statistics, but the truth remains that when compared to any other country, past of present, this country is still the best place to live. We might consider our unemployment high, but it is nothing compared to what other nations deal with.

Even though our economy is a mess, unemployment continues to rise, and we have soldiers dying on foreign soil we still live in a wonderful country. While it is easy to complain about what is happening to our country, we are still able to live in a country that is a land of plenty.

I am grateful for the United States of America. One reason I am grateful is because I realize in many other places I would not have the opportunities that I have. The problem is so many of us have come to believe that these things are our rights and that we deserve them. When that is our perspective we will not be grateful for what we have, instead we will become bitter because we believe someone is holding out on us. When we are ungrateful for what we have, we will end up wasting it the great gifts God has given.

Another reason I am grateful is because I realize what I deserve. I deserve nothing. As rebellious sinners none of us deserve anything. Everything we have, from the air we breathe to the pleasure of Bunny Tracks Ice Cream, is a gift from God. If it wasn’t for God’s grace we would never experience any of the pleasures of life. Please remember that God gives, not because we have earned it, but because He loves us. I don’t deserve to live in this great country with our Constitution and opportunities, but God put me here because He knew this is the best environment for me to discover Him. When I was God’s enemy He still gave me what was best for me.

When we live a life of gratitude we have a perspective of hope. Rather than being pessimistic about the future, because I believe someone is holding out on me, I believe things will turn out for the best because God is willing to give me what I need. Regardless of what happens with the economy or health care, I am optimistic about what lies ahead. My life is not tied to what happens in Washington, it is tied to my faith in a generous and loving God. No matter what happens the future is bright because of Him.

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