So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
I found myself drawn to the phrase overflowing with thankfulness. Actually, the whole passage is very visual for me... I picture myself as a strong tree, with roots planted deeply, held firmly in place by a solid rock, with a well nearby overflowing with life-giving water to sustain me. That overflowing well would not just sustain me, though... when something is overflowing, it draws attention! Just like when our lives are overflowing with gratitude it gives us the opportunity to share the absolute love and security that comes with having a relationship with Christ.
I am sure I am not the only one who has know people on both sides of this spectrum... there is the person who is always complaining about what they don't have, and there is the person who is content no matter what. I know that I would much rather stand in the company of person number two. This person is not bragging about how they have it good, or trying to shine a light on their possessions or achievements. Instead they are quietly thankful, and it is this humble gratitude that really stand out among the crowd in the world we live in.
Last night we talked about thankfulness with out Godparents group (Matt and I meet with 12 teens every week in our home for Bible study and fellowship) and we started with Psalm 100:
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This Psalm is a blueprint for leading a life full of thanksgiving. It shows us the "who" - the Lord is God, Creator of all things and worthy of our praise. It tells us "how" - we show our thanks with words and actions. It tells us "why" - He is good, His love is eternal, and He is always faithful! When we recognize who God is and what He does for us, our praise and thanksgiving should naturally follow! (You can get a copy of the lesson we used here by the way!)
We then read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Along with this verse, I gave them a challenge. I called it the Attitude of Gratitude Challenge. This week they will record 5 things they are thankful for each day. I have kept a gratitude journal off and on during the last year, and it is amazing how it can change my attitude. Sometimes we need to just take some time to slow down and really think about the abundance of blessings in our lives. In fact, this verse from 1 Thessalonians tells us that we need to do this more often than just sometimes. It tells us to rejoice always! Pray continually! Give thanks in all circumstances!
So, just as I challenged my teens, I am challenging myself to be more intentional about my gratitude. I thought I would make the printable I made for them available in case any of you wanted to do the same! You can download it here. By the way, these teens we work with are pretty amazing and definitely gave us some challenging questions to answer last night! So, at the top of my list for this week is being thankful for the Holy Spirit working through me to provide answers for them... I was impressed with how they really dug into the Word, and gave the questions serious thought! I have a feeling these kids will be changing the world in the coming years! :)