“gratitude without purpose is simply a good feeling”

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. – 1 John 4:7-9

1-Fullscreen capture 1142018 55928 PMPeople often ask me about sources of inspiration I tap into as a writer. I do read quite a bit, but mostly – for me – it’s about paying attention. Or, as Rebekah put it when asked how she prepares for her Sunday message, “I try to stay awake.”

Then sometimes I actually take notes during sermons. Yes, those little two-inch pencils in the pew racks turn out to be there for a reason, and I’ve been known to scribble all over my bulletin. Contrary to popular belief I do not get previews during the week, and the preacher does not do “dry runs” at home.

So she was speaking about the relationship between gratitude and belief (click here for the message). There’s some good science out there now that confirms some of what we already know, that a grateful spirit is demonstrably associated with benefits such as lower blood pressure, positive emotions, and general wellbeing.

Then Rebekah pointed out that – in a synthesis of the biological science, the social science, the theology, and the insight she brings to these messages – that “gratitude without purpose is simply a good feeling.”

“Gratitude without purpose is simply a good feeling” – Rebekah Maul

And good feelings, we know this, only get you so far.

1-Fullscreen capture 1142018 60034 PM

On belief, Rebekah traced the word back through several layers of definition, meaning, origin, and etymology. It turns out that at the heart of the deepest places, “believe” carries the root “be-love.” Use that in context and we find ourselves saying “I belove in God.” “I belove this church and its ministries.” “I belove in what we are doing here.”

Love is the activating force that gives purpose to what we are grateful for, it is what turns our belief into action. I am deeply grateful for this life we embrace and enjoy, I belove Jesus and find that it is impossible to simply just sit there in church limited to feeling good, all warm and fuzzy inside with thanks and belief. No, love propels – compels – me into action. Love turns belief into service and purposeful change.

So, thanks Rebekah for preaching stuff that inspires this writer. Thanks for making good theology such a catalyst for change.

Come to think of it, I belove in us. I am grateful and I belove our life together.

In love, and because of love – DEREK



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