The ladies in my Sunday school class have been studying the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and the Patch song, "The Gratitude Attitude," keeps popping into my mind. The chorus goes, "Just catch the gratitude attitude, gratitude attitude/ Give thanks in everything./ Catch the gratitude attitude, gratitude attitude/ Lift your voice and sing. / Always thank the Lord each day/ For everything He brings your way./ Catch the gratitude attitude, gratitude attitude/ Catch it everyday." Such simple lyrics and such a simple song, but it has such a big message!
"Give thanks in everything." From I Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Like DeMoss points out, give thanks in everything. So even when my great-uncle had major leg surgery yesterday and may even lose his leg as a result, and he's not saved, I have to give thanks. Even when my students whine and complain and don't obey, I have to give thanks. Even when my bank account is at $0 and I still have some bills to pay, I have to give thanks.
Jen Whitcomb, one of the women at the most recent study, mentioned that we always look for people who are worse off then us. Most of the time it's to justify a sinful attitude/action we're having, but sometimes it's a good thing. For example, my husband left his socks all over this floor again, left his dirty dishes in the sink, unrinsed, again, and even left his kitchen chair pulled out from the table again so I accidentally hit my baby toe on it and think the toe might be broken. But I have my husband, unlike some women who've lost their husbands. My kitchen has about three feet of usable counter space. But I have a kitchen, unlike the women in the shanty towns I saw in South Africa. My grandma criticized a choice my husband and I made. But I have my grandparents, and they are strong Christians who want me to live that testimony, unlike people without Christian family. I dinged my six-month-old car on the fence creating a big scratch and dent. But God provided the money for me to purchase this vehicle, and it runs smoothly, unlike people who can't afford a car or have many difficulties with the car they have. My friend criticized something about my faith. But he/she knows I'm a Christian, and I can freely express my faith to them unlike people in China or other closed countries.
A recent example that brings that song to mind as well is when I stood in line at the pet store on Friday of last week and listened to a man complain over and over about Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, and his new budget plan. "Apparently government employees make a lot of money. I didn't know I made a lot of money. Did you know government employees make a lot of money? He's taxing my retirement! He has no right to do that! I can't even afford to take my girls to McDonald's anymore! It's just wrong!" He kept going on, so I couldn't stop him, but if he would've stopped for breath, I could've asked him, "Sir, are you healthy? Can you still work? Are you girls healthy? Can you still feed them? Do you still have your house? Can you still pay your bills?" If he could say "yes" to any of these questions, he's still doing better than any of deserve. Michigan had to change. Our government has been bleeding money for years and years to cater to unions, special-interest groups, government employees, etc. The government couldn't sustain itself much longer. No one has stood up and demanded change like Snyder has. He said he was going to balance Michigan's budget when he ran. He said he was going to change Michigan. Why was this man at the pet store so upset? Michigan voters knew what they were getting. Tough times have fallen on everyone in this state. But as Dave Ramsey says, "Tough times will come. How are you planning for it?" [This paragraph brings up a host of other issues like government's reach, responsible spending, or mooching off the government, but those are other topics for other posts.]
A 'gratitude attitude' would've said, "Unfortunately, my pay has been reduced. Unfortunately, I cannot take my kids out to dinner as I'd like. But I'm still healthy to work and make money. I'm still providing a roof over my family's head and food on the table. We'll come back from this. We always do." And I'm sure his heart and stomach would've thanked him for that attitude! I know I and the other people in the store would've.
My point is, that little song keeps reminding me of the truths of Scripture--"in everything give thanks" or "rejoice always." No matter what has come, what is my attitude? A gratitude attitude shows Christ to others and builds up my family. It saves my health, both physically and spiritually. I wish more Christians consistently chose this 'gratitude attitude.' Our light for Christ would certainly burn brighter in this dark world.