Inspired by Eddy Mann’s song “My Grateful Heart”
Many years ago, as the story is told, a devout king was disturbed by the ingratitude of his royal court. He prepared a large banquet for them. When the king and his royal guests were seated, by prearrangement, a beggar shuffled into the hall, sat down at the king’s table, and gorged himself with food. Without saying a word, he then left the room. The guests were furious and asked permission to seize the tramp and tear him limb from limb for his ingratitude The king replied, “That beggar has done only once to an earthly king what each of you does three times each day to God. You sit there at the table and eat until you are satisfied. Then you walk away without recognizing God, or expressing one word of thanks to Him.” If you were a guest at that banquet, would you be guilty as charged?
If we were to take an honest look at our lives, I can confidently say that there’s always room for more gratefulness, especially in relationship to God. Sure it’s easy to give God the credit when things are going great in our lives and we clearly see God’s blessing and working in our lives. However, often in the bad times, our eyesight gets foggy and we fail to recognize God’s hand of blessing. We focus on the negatives and let them pull us down. At times we may not even see any positives in our situation and we’re quick to complain and turn our backs on God. What we often fail to realize is that even in the worst moments in our lives, God is still providing us with blessings, even though they may not be readily seen.
How does one live life thankfully through the good, the bad and even the ugly? For one thing, we can open our eyes to the bounty of gifts God spreads before us every day. But that doesn’t mean we are to ignore reality. A life grounded in gratitude faces misfortune and tragedy with an underlying faith that there is also hope. Gratefulness at this level opens our hearts and assures our souls that God is with us in ways far beyond our imaginings. The surety of God’s goodness and the steadfastness of God’s love foster gratefulness so potent it permeates our very selves, and in so doing transforms who we are. The moment we become grateful, we actually begin to ascend spiritually into the presence of God. The psalmist wrote, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. . . . Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:2, 4-5).
The writer of Psalm 95 also gives us a second option of thanksgiving to God. He invites us to “sing for joy,” to “shout aloud,” to come before God with thanksgiving on our lips, and to worship Him with music and song. According to the psalm writer, our hearts should be so brimming with gratitude to God for all that He has done that we can’t help but bubble over with joy and shout out our thanks.
I encourage you to deliberately find things to be thankful for every day of the year. See God’s hand at work in your life and praise Him. Remember that daily He gives multiple blessings. It does not matter what your circumstances are; the instant you begin to thank God, even though your situation has not changed, you begin to change. The key that unlocks the gates of Heaven is a thankful heart. Entrance into the courts of God comes as you simply begin to praise the Lord.
Scripture for today’s devotional:
“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. . . . Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:2, 4-5)
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.(Psalm 95:1-2)
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eddy Mann is the worship leader at Gloria Dei Church in Huntingdon Valley, PA. “My Grateful Heart” can be found on his new CD titled “Who We Are,” which can be found on iTunes, cdbaby, Amazon and always at live events. For more information about Eddy Mann visit his website at www.eddymann.com.
Image credit: Tonya Christner, via CreationSwap