proposing a gratitude initiative

Today I’ll be sharing two posts:

  1. This first is an invitation to participate in an initiative of gratitude that will change your life and the lives of those around you.
  2. The second (sometime this afternoon) comes in response to a question about divorce.

THE GRATITUDE INITIATIVE:

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:12-15

There’s nothing like being part of a vibrant, faithful, encouraging, compassionate church community when it comes to looking forward with hope and promise into this coming year.

Spending Wednesday evenings at WFPC – when the campus is teeming with more than 200 people doing everything from eating supper together, to kids’ programs, to choir practice, to small group Bible studies, to discipleship initiatives, and much more – feeds my soul in so many nourishing ways.

In my men’s covenant group we spent more than an hour simply talking about what we have been thankful for during this past week. First we read the scripture from Colossians 3, and then I asked everyone to share something from the past few days that caused them to take pause and give thanks to God.

The phrase “from the past few days” is critically important – if we intend to engage this journey as faithful disciples with more than just lip-service. Owning a deliberate posture of thankfulness turns out to be a recurring theme in New Testament writing. In other words, it’s not enough for us to sit around and wait for something obvious to stir us into thankfulness! No, we are called to thankfulness as a state of being.

It’s not enough for us to sit around and wait for something obvious to stir us into thankfulness! No, we are called to thankfulness as a state of being.

I believe that God is inviting us to experience the blessing of a thankful heart many times a day. If you’re someone who has trouble sharing exactly how and where you encounter God in the ebb and flow of everyday life, then this is an exercise that should help.

Think of this in the same way that we notice (or don’t notice) stars in the night sky. I typically walk the dog late in the evening, and I usually get home without having seen any stars at all. Why? Because I’m not looking. Yesterday evening I did glance up and note how The Big Dipper stands on end at this time of the year. But if I was looking for the stars, if I started searching the heavens, then more and more would come into focus.

I’d like to recommend consciously searching – each day – for new testimonies of gratitude. Then, once you have identified something, take a moment to share it with someone else. Email a friend; call your spouse; tap the person next to you in line at lunch and say, “I am so grateful for _____;” keep a gratitude journal; save a handful of them and share a series of thankful thoughts at dinner this evening… every evening….

I’ll guarantee this: if you become identified as a consistently thankful person, then not only will you both see and experience more to be grateful for, but others will begin sharing their observations with you.

15697625_10100872121124572_5621620429416620099_nI’ll guarantee this: if you become identified as a consistently thankful person, then not only will you both see and experience more to be grateful for, but others will begin sharing their observations with you.

This passage from Colossians represents one of the most simple and practical discipleship initiatives we can practice. “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

Clothe yourselves with gratitude – DEREK

 

faith life Live Like You Mean It Men's ministry The Church

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Derek,

    Thank you for your valuable insights! I know when the world seems to be going crazy it is very easy to keep our minds focused on the negative. It takes an intentional focus to be thankful. This post reminded me all that I have to be thankful for. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    Aaron V. Lopez

    Liked by 1 person

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