What if you only had tomorrow what you thanked God for today?
No one would actually want to live in such a universe (what if no one thanks God for me today!), but the question makes us stop and think. Michael Hyatt is one of my favorite bloggers on leadership (michaelhyatt.com). He wrote about the “Gratitude Advantage” last November:
1. Gratitude reduces our stress. Thankfulness redirects our attention from our difficulties to the benefits we enjoy. It’s like creating a stockpile of good thoughts for when times are tough. It also helps us reframe our losses and stay connected
emotionally to friends and family.
2. Gratitude inoculates us from negative emotions. When we focus on what we don’t have or how our decisions could have turned out better, we leave room for resentment, envy, and regret to build. Gratitude can keep these feelings at bay.
3. Gratitude sustains our relationships. Let me just ask, Do you like hanging out with people that gripe and complain? Me neither. It’s gratitude that draws people together, builds trust, and strengthens ties. That’s true in the workplace, among friends, in families, and between husbands and wives.
4. Gratitude improves our health. Grateful people visit their doctors less often and live longer than others. The research shows that thankfulness helps us sleep better, control our blood pressure, and generally reduce physical complaints.
Thank you, Michael. Time to move from prose to prayer…
Gracious God, we give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord. We give you thanks for the gift of your Holy Spirit, to make us people of faith, hope, and love. I give you thanks for my beautiful wife and partner, Andrea. Thank you for the mercy and peace you have given her in these recent years of starting our family. I give you thanks for Ezra, Judah, and baby brother, who never cease to capture my heart and somehow make me feel younger and older at the same time. Thank you for the many blessings of extended family and friends.
I give you thanks for the congregation of Bethesda Lutheran Church, for calling me, loving and supporting my family, and earnestly desiring to be faithful to you and helpful to their neighbors. I give you thanks for the children and youth of this congregation, whose joy and enthusiasm is infectious, and whose struggles never allow me to lose sight of my calling. Thank you for the many adults who teach, lead, mentor, and pray for young people. I give you thanks for your magnificent creation, for our daily bread, for forgiveness of sins, for deliverance from temptation and evil, and for this hope that lives within me. It is far more than I deserve. In the name of Christ, Amen.