Being thankful is one of those qualities of life people seem obsessed with all the time. We have a major holiday around it. We find whole sections of Hallmark cards on the theme of thanks. Ask parents what some of the first words we teach our children are, and invariably the words, “thank you,” will be high on the list.
And yet, gratitude is not meant to be something that’s simply external or an expression of social etiquette. It is something to be cultivated on a regular basis for the sake of our souls and spirits and our connections to God and to each other. So much tries to prevent us from this posture towards life, but when we see its necessity for our basic survival each day we can easily make strides to truly be grateful for so much in our lives.
It is food for our lives, and the food of our lives.next >
“Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith?"
Matthew 6:25-30next >
Growing up in Sunday School, I was taught a formula for prayer. We would praise God for Jesus, and thank God for food, clothing, and shelter. My parents reinforced this at home. It was good for me to learn from an early age that God was the provider of all, right down to the threads of our clothes and even the salt we used to season our food. It was tangible. It was a way to be continuously thankful in simple and real life.
This passage directs us to a similar posture through reminding us not to worry. Few things steal joy and gratitude more than worry, and few things seem more important when it comes to cultivating faith than the pursuit of gratitude. And yet, this is so difficult today when much in our world provokes worry – anxiety, fear, uncertainty.
When we are willing to keep our eyes on those simple images of God’s love and care we will be free of the lie that there is not enough and experience the abundance of God’s grace and presence.
Mihee Kim-Kortnext >
God, there is so much around me that turns my eyes and ears away from your presence. Help me to keep my heart set on those sparrows and lilies, and all the reminders that you care about me and care for us. Lead me to live in the freedom that gratitude is meant to bring me. Amen.next >
May you discard the worries of the past and all that would prevent you from the gracious beauty of the present moment.
May you relinquish the fears and anxieties of tomorrow and root yourself in the soil of the abundance here and now.
May you have the spirit and energy to strive for the Good in everything.
May gratitude and love overflow in your cup.
Go in peace and hope, with the joy that comes from a thankful heart towards God in Jesus Christ.
Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is spouse to a Presbyterian minister, mother to three amazing children, director of a UKIRK campus ministry at Indiana University. She is also a freelance writer and author of numerous blogs, articles, and books. Her website is www.miheekimkort.com.
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