Focus – The Attitude of Gratitude
By Lt. Col. Mervyn Morelock –
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:28
Lloyd John Ogilvie, in his devotional book, Silent Strength, tells of listening to the late University of Edinburgh scholar, John Baille, preach about the attitude of gratitude for the Christian. “A true Christian is a person 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.”
“Never for a moment forgets.” That’s a phrase that ought to guide our thinking at this time of year and every day of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas remind us that we should “never forget” the blessings that have come our way. Every week my wife and I relive last year’s mission service trip to India.
We relive it because at each of our crusade meeting series we show the video, “All God’s Children.” The video was made to show the work that the volunteer team did at the Evangeline Booth Hospital at Ahmednegar, India. Every team member came away from that experience with a special sense of thanksgiving. While there was the privilege to travel around the world to India, it was the lives of Majors Ted and Roz Mahr and the Indian officers and soldiers we met that made such a profound impact on our lives. All of us came away with a special sense of gratitude. We can never forget how blessed we are. We did not choose where we were to be born, nor did we choose our parents. And when we saw the faithful, hard working and dedicated officers and soldiers who work with so little and yet have such a rich faith, we could not help but be humbled and have rekindled the “attitude of gratitude.”
It is said that when the Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving the children were given plates with five kernels of corn to remind them of the difficult year that had been endured. It was only after the prayers of gratitude for the Lord’s providence that the first Thanksgiving meal was served. Our family has celebrated a similar custom at Thanksgiving, though we did not know until recently the origin. Each member of our family is given a small envelope with three kernels of dried Indian corn. At the end of the meal, each one, in turn, tells three things for which he or she is most thankful. It is a reverent and thoughtful time.
The Bible expresses much wise advice and counsel on how important it is that we never forget to maintain an attitude of gratitude.
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever. And say ye, Save us, O God for our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.” I Chronicles 16:34-35
The first chapter of the book of Romans gives a stern warning to those who did not maintain an attitude of gratitude.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:18-22
Many songs in our Salvation Army Songbook help us maintain an “attitude of gratitude.” One of my favorite songs is an old Scandinavian hymn, “Thank you, Lord, for all your goodness.” (552)
Thank you, Lord, for wayside roses,
Even for the thorns beside;
Thank you for the prayers you granted
And for those that you denied;
Thank you, Lord, for precious comfort
In my hours of grief and pain;
Thank you for our precious promiseLife eternal I shall gain.
August Ludvig Storm (1862-1914)
trs Flora Larsson
“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul; thank you, Lord for making me whole; thank you, Lord, for giving to me, Thy great Salvation so rich and free!”
Let us have a daily attitude of gratitude and not wait for Thanksgiving!