Zig Ziglar used to talk about the need to have an “attitude of gratitude.” I think the world to a large part has lost that concept. Gratitude has been replaced with an attitude of “You owe me.” Is it any wonder that we are surrounded by people who are unhappy, bitter, and downright angry?
I was speaking with a friend of mine this week and asked him, “What do you think is missing in today’s society?” He said, “Faith.” While I agree that faith is definitely missing for many people, gratitude is foundational for you to have faith. I don’t believe you can be a person who is grounded in faith without being grateful. It seems to me that gratitude is the foundation upon which faith is built.
If you are a person who is already showing gratitude, then this is just a reminder, but if you are one of the many people who feels that everyone owes them, then pay attention.
- Gratitude is learned. We are not born with it. In fact, just the opposite. We are born selfish and expecting everyone to meet our needs. Lesson 1 is, “It is not all about YOU and YOUR needs.” Learn to say, “Thank you,” and mean it.
- Gratitude is essential to love, peace, faith, and happiness. When you express a heart-felt thank you to someone, it does two very positive things. First, it makes the other person happy that you recognize that they have done something for you and are grateful (which typically makes them want to do more for you, by the way), and it reinforces in you a spirit of humility. Lesson 2 is, “Gratitude is foundational to being a whole person.”
- The enemy of gratitude is pride. Pride says, “I am going to do whatever I want to whomever I want and let the chips fall where they may.” That attitude has gone before millions of people who have fallen. Lesson 3 is, “Lose the pride.” Be willing to say thank you even for the little things that people do. It does matter in the end.
I had the opportunity to visit a very poor Mayan village in Guatemala. It was an amazing trip in many ways, but one thing really stuck out in my mind about these people. They were so grateful for the little things that we did for them. One of the things we did was just to listen to their stories and pray for them. Apparently this was not common in their village for people (especially strangers) to do. They loved us for just taking time to listen to them and pray for them.
The other thing we did was to take them a basket of food. The basket had basic staples like flour, cooking oil, rice, beans, etc. You would have thought we were giving them a fortune. I found out later that many of these people only had tortillas to eat on a daily basis. That kind of puts things in perspective when you sit down at YOUR next meal, doesn’t it? What really humbled me was when they served us something to drink and eat, sharing the little bit that they had.
If you are in a place that seems difficult, the one thing that you CAN do is to change your attitude. Be grateful for what people do for you. Be grateful for what God is doing. Even if you don’t see things changing, be grateful. If you want your faith to grow, if you want to be happy, give thanks. Gratitude will change you in a positive way….and others appreciate it too.