The liberating quality of gratitude

Have you ever been asked, "Are you grateful?" and replied, "For what?" The French word for gratitude is reconnaissance, which also means recognition. Clearly one cannot feel grateful unless he recognizes some good to be grateful for. The highest form of gratitude stems from recognition of God's goodness.

Christ Jesus showed that recognition of God's goodness, and gratitude for it, bring the further experience of outward good, as in physical healing or the provision of some necessity. Before raising his friend Lazarus from the dead, the Master said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." John 11:41; Maybe we haven't received a complete healing of some bodily condition as of today, but we, too, can thank God for the healing in advance and for His being unchanging good. Prior to feeding the four thousand, the Master had the people sit down, and, as Matthew records the event, "he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude." Matt. 15:36; Most of us are willing to express thanks after a need is met, but shouldn't we be following the Master's example? And, like Jesus, shouldn't we be thanking God for the good we already have, however inadequate it may seem to the material senses?

November 19, 1979

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