Spiritual Disciplines // GRATITUDE AND SERVICE
I (Chris) have never been so thankful to flip on my overhead fan in my bedroom. A few days without power will do that! It’s a funny thing how the absence of something can really make you appreciate it all the more. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. During this season of Lent we have the opportunity to allow fasting to do it’s good work; fasting, done in the Spirit of sacrifice and devotion, creates in us an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the goodness and provision of the Lord.
Gratitude, in its purest form, is much more about one’s heart than the state of one’s life. If I won the lottery, or was given a brand new truck I would certainly be filled with gratitude. However, waiting for a major windfall or material blessing is a surefire way to overlook the everyday goodness of the Lord. On Sunday I spoke about the “grittiness” required for the Christian to be faithful witnesses for the Kingdom of God. It’s easy to read through the narrative of Joseph, Moses, or even Paul and see major accounts to major accounts – an exciting life with big moments of God’s faithfulness. What we miss are the days, weeks, months, and years that require a commitment to the mundane, the small, and the insignificant. We pray for the big and spectacular and God continues to meet us in the “in between.”
How can we remain faithful in the “in between”? How can we remain faithful when the work is half finished and coffee pot is lukewarm? How can we remain faithful when everything seems difficult as much as it is ordinary?
Seriously. When we allow our eyes to be open to the Lord’s faithfulness in the “in between” we are invited into observing one of the great mysteries of the faith – how men and women can be content and filled with joy when nothing in his or her life is seemingly exciting. By allowing this season of Lent to act as a sort of “palate cleanser”, while continuing to practice regular gratitude we will open our eyes to God’s goodness that exists just as much in a moment of laughter with a child as it does in a healing. It exists just as much in a few moments of solitude as it does in a promotion. God’s goodness isn’t waiting for a major event to be unleashed; it’s just waiting to be discovered.
Today, practice some gratitude in the ordinary. Find a quiet place and begin to write down all the things you are grateful for right now. Don’t stop at 1, or 3, or 5, continue writing until you sense God’s goodness in your life. It’s not a matter of “if”, but of “how”. Thank God for meeting you in the “in-between” and in the grit.