Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving ...
-Psalm 95:1-2a, NIV
A while back, I was given a box with some notes from some members of the church I was serving at the time, thanking me for serving as their pastor. Since then, I have added to that box when someone passes along a particularly kind thought. When things are difficult, it is amazing how remembering the simple expression of gratitude can enhance our lives. It is really what life is all about - showing the spirit of gratitude through how we live and give.
Thomas Merton put it this way:
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything [God] has given us - and [God] has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of [God's] love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from [God]. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. (Thomas Merton quoted in Words of Gratitude by Robert A. Emmons and Joanna Hill)
Today, I want to give you a homework assignment. I want to invite you to take the time to sit down for a few minutes and write a "thank you" note to God expressing your gratitude for what God has given you in life. It doesn't have to follow any form. It doesn't have to be fancy - just your own words to God. You don't have to show it to anyone -- though you can, if you like. But take the time to put down in your own words why you are grateful to God. If you do that, I believe it will add some meaning and perspective to your life. It will help you find what it is we are all looking for in life.