Attitude of Gratitude
The Thanksgiving month!
A time when hopefully we take some time to assess the blessings that have been poured out on us, and what God calls us to do with them, which is to share them with others.
Dr. Bob Oerter, the much-loved senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, Colorado when we were there is the 1970s, used to exhort his parishioners to have an “attitude of gratitude,” and he modeled it faithfully.
For me, I think he was the first formative influence in that aspect of my life.
Another who has had considerable influence is Gary Hoag, president of Global Trust Partners and blogger at “Generosity Monk.”
Gary speaks often of the difference it makes when we embrace a mindset of abundance rather than a mindset of scarcity.
When we think that the resources available to us are limited, we are reluctant to let go of them, but when we trust that God has unlimited resources to share with us, we can freely share with those around us.
In his November 4 blog, Gary cited the Puritan Jonathan Edwards’ comments on Luke 6:35.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back….
Edwards comments, “… it is the absolute and indispensable duty of the people of God, to give bountifully and willingly for supplying the wants of the needy.
But more particularly…we must open our hand wide. What we give, considering our neighbor’s wants, and our ability, should be such as may be called a liberal gift.
What is meant in the text by opening the hand wide, with respect to those that are able, is explained in Deu. 15:8, “Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his want, in that which he needeth.”
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) in Christian Charity or The Duty of Charity to the Poor, Explained and Enforced (1732).
It seems to me that “thankful” and “generous” are “joined at the hip,” so to speak.
They stir one another up.
Jesus opened his hands wide in his giving to us. We need to open our hands wide in our giving to others. Our “attitude of gratitude” needs to spill over into generous giving.
Attitude of Gratitude
And thou couldst see me sinning;
—Gerard Manley Hopkins
When you stretched out your arms and died,
You saw the days
When with barren heart
I have looked the other way
You saw the greedy grasping
Of what I thought I needed for myself
When I could have done another good.
You heard the harsh and unkind word,
Knew that I would not be
In love with truth
When it pointed to a path
That I found hard.
You knew the half-truths and omissions
For what they were—
You could see me sinning—
You stretched out your arms and died.
I bow, O Lord who sees me sinning,
And give you thanks!
If you would like to watch the podcast about this subject with John & Rhonda.