CLERGY CORNER: An attitude of gratitude

Posted on 27 November 2014 by LeslieM

This is the time of year traditionally given to the consideration of the family, friends, experiences and accomplishments that we are grateful for in our lives. We pause purposefully and intentionally on the fourth Thursday of November to give thanks. But have you noticed how easy it has become to rush through the year and, indeed, all of life full of expectations and even demands? The result is that we may become so selfish and narcissistic as to never display or verbalize any gratitude. The entitlement mindset has descended upon society in such a way that everything is a right, few things are regarded as privileges, and no one wants to take any responsibility.

If you are of the mind to disagree, allow me to suggest that you observe the behavior of motorists on the road the next time you are driving around. How many red light runners can you spot casually breaking the law? Does anyone yield the right of way when they are entering the highway or do they expect you to slow down? If you’re doing the speed limit, are the motorists passing you giving you mean looks or honking their horns? Don’t you think the person behind you is a little too close for comfort? Heaven forbid the light should turn yellow and they are two feet from your rear bumper.

I believe that we all should cultivate an attitude of gratitude that permeates our lives throughout the year. The ability to drive in this country is a privilege, not a right, and we are expected to drive responsibly and to be mindful of others on the road. I love road trips that enable me to see the beauty of Florida. You can enjoy views of the ocean, city skyscrapers from a distance, wide spaces of farm country, small town communities, and large urban areas. Have you noticed the differences between the palm trees of Miami and Jacksonville? I’m grateful to be able to see and appreciate all of this and more.

We all have a laundry list of things that we could complain about but why not list the things we are grateful for? There’s an old hymn of the church that encourages: Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. The apostle Paul commands believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in everything. It’s a remarkable approach and a beneficial practice. Somehow, the good always seems to outweigh the bad, and the reality is that there is someone who would gladly trade their situation for yours.

You may not have everything you desire to have, but isn’t it true that you have a lot right now? Maybe you haven’t achieved your dreams and objectives, but aren’t you still able to do something about it? So you’ve had setback and failure, but aren’t you still around to try again? You’ve lost a close friend or family member, but aren’t you glad for the precious memories that linger? Let’s make it a daily habit to be grateful and perhaps we can enjoy life more. Let the people you love and appreciate know how grateful you are for their presence in your life. That might inspire them to be grateful, in turn, to others.

Don’t forget to give thanks to God for His mercies and blessings upon your life. And take the time to appreciate the beauty around you. Why the rush? Stop and smell the roses sometime. You don’t have to be a grouch, you can be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954- 427-0302.

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