How do you respond to God?
We respond to God in different forms, with differing reactions and for different reasons. For example, if we are burdened with a loss, perhaps we respond to God out of frustration, sadness, and maybe even anger with questions. If we have some sort of addiction, affliction or ailment, we respond to God with cries for help. We could also possibly respond out of trembling and fear if we have committed some serious infraction or sin. On the positive side, when things happen for which we are grateful, we might offer up thanks and praise to God.
C.S. Lewis observed this about the connection between gratitude and personal well-being:
I noticed how the humblest and at the same time most balanced minds praised most: while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least. Praise almost seems to be inner health made audible.
Many well-educated, intellectual, and theologically-grounded people seem to believe that praise and giving thanks to God is essential in life. A great number of studies have shown that physically, mentally and emotionally, we are much better off if we are a more grateful people. In fact, gratitude can function as a great stress reducer.
Our most basic and essential response to God is and should be gratitude. Even if we struggle to think of specific points of thanks, we should be grateful for the gift of life. We should be grateful for the creation of the world. We should be grateful for the many dear people God has given us to both enrich and grace our lives. Yet, even more importantly, we should be grateful to God for God’s love realized in Jesus Christ and the hope that it gives us. Those alone are reasons enough for us to give eternal thanks and praise to God.
Saying that we are more grateful is nice, but what other ways can we incorporate it into our lives? One way of displaying gratitude is through worship participation each and every Sunday. Another way to show gratitude is through prayer and conversations with others. I find a great deal of gratitude in coming together as a church family and doing ministries and worshiping as a whole, together on Sundays and throughout the week.
I invite you to think of or try a new way in which you can give thanks to God.