On Thankfulness

“We are only grateful people when we can say thank-you to all that has brought us to the present moment.”

Henri Nouwen

I confess, I’m not naturally a thankful person.

I used to be a much more critical person. I still am sometimes – it rears its ugly head often. But it was about seven years ago when I wanted to be more gracious and affirming of others.  And I have honestly changed significantly – I’m happy to say. But I’m not there yet.

Thankfulness for me is a discipline. I like being among the poor because they are more often thankful and they remind me that simplicity helps us recognize our need for God. I used to always wonder why the Bible said, “Blessed are the poor,” in both Matthew and Luke.

Some people like to qualify that statement by saying Jesus wasn’t talking about the material poor – the “poor in spirit.” And while it is true that is what Matthew says, Luke just leaves it at “blessed are the poor.”

I don’t think we can just leave that statement to be hyperbole.  It’s much more comfortable when we leave it that way – but I don’t think it was intended to make pie-in-the-sky happiness that seems to be a never attainable ideal.

To understand our need for God is to be blessed.  To rejoice and be thankful is a result of being satisfied that God provides.

How do you cultivate thankfulness in a life?

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May 2009

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