My 4-year-old son, Jase, loves to help! He loves to help with the fun, more obvious things like making yummy popcorn on the stove or setting supplies out for a craft he wants us to do together; but he also loves helping with what we often consider the boring, mundane chores.
Jase loves to help me wash the dishes, take out the trash, and even do the laundry. Whenever I need to do laundry, he’ll say, “Oh, Mommy, make sure you wait on me. Can I please help with the laundry?” And my response, of course, is, “Absolutely! I’ll let you help with the laundry,” as if it’s a fun adventure I’m allowing him to join me on!
Not only have I been shocked by his willingness to help, I’ve also been equally amazed by his appreciation for my allowing him to do so. Recently after we finished folding laundry, Jase said, “Mommy, thank you for letting me help you with the laundry. It was so fun!” I couldn’t believe it. In my next breath, I prayed, “Lord, may he always think laundry is fun, so I won’t have to do it anymore!”
Jase’s tendency to thank me for the most bizarre things like “letting him help me with the laundry” reminds me how important it is to cultivate a spirit of gratitude.
When Jase expresses gratitude for being allowed to help with the laundry it communicates to me that he sees this as an opportunity instead of an obligation ‒ that’s the power of gratitude. Gratitude both reveals and determines our attitude.
Gratitude empowers us to embrace all we have with warm, positive regard instead of negatively focusing on our lack. Embracing “all we have” goes far beyond our material possessions. As followers of Jesus, we have freely been given so much that, quite honestly, we don’t even deserve. No place in Scripture describes this more beautifully than Psalm 103:
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. … The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
‒ Psalm 103:2-6, 8-12, NIV
Like the psalmist, I must remind my soul of all God’s benefits because the cares and tasks of my daily life take over, and I forget. I forget the goodness and kindness of God, His faithfulness and might, and His great love and mercy. Instead, my needs seem so great. I feel that I have so little. I’m overwhelmed by my own brokenness and inability to measure up.
But gratitude reminds me. Gratitude changes my attitude, and as I reflect on all the goodness of God, my heart changes. I’m no longer worried about the things I don’t have; I’m confident in His goodness and faithfulness to provide whatever I need.
Lord, thank You for who You are. Thank You for Your forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, and compassion. Thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve! As we reflect on Your goodness, draw our hearts to those who have not yet experienced Your great love. May we be ever aware and open to extending Your love and mercy to those who are far from You, just as You have extended it to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
- How have you experienced God’s goodness?
- Who shared the Gospel with you? Is there someone you can express gratitude to this week for helping you in your relationship with God?
- Who in your life also needs the hope of Jesus in their life? How can you be a part of bringing the Gospel to them?
“I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.”
‒ Psalm 7:17, NIV
Mid-South/Great Lakes Field Director