Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gratitude: More Than an Attitude

Leadership: defining reality and saying thank you (Max DePree).

We are creatures - created beings. Made in the image of God. We are dependent persons. We have limits. We cannot do it all or be good at everything. We have been created for God's glory. We are most glorified when we are grateful to God and give him glory for his creation. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory that the most creaturely of pleasures is the "specific pleasure of the inferior." "When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather the greater glory of which nature is only the first sketch." Lewis goes on to say: "there are no ordinary people," and "next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses." So, we have the privilege of living with our neighbors and being grateful for them. Saying Thank You.

Gratitude is an energizing, satisfying emotion. It is not possessive but builds up and reaches out. It cannot be purchased, or mimicked or stored. It cant be achieved or accomplished because it is not something that is ever finished or that can be checked off. It is the involuntary response of the heart to all aspects of life and ultimately to God. It is not based primarily on circumstances. Some of the most grateful people are poor while some of the most ungrateful people are rich.

Getting or acquiring is very self-focused. It feeds pride. Receiving feeds humility. To receive we recognize the value of others and what they are giving. This is the fertile soil in which gratitude grows. An attitude of gratitude cannot be forced by saying all the right things; if the soil of humility is not there, gratitude is gratuitous, superficial and phony.

Habits of gratitude can be practiced. Thank God daily for all the individuals you work with and live with.

Gratitude is linked with defining reality (clarity). Good, clear job and role expectations are so desired and necessary ( we really need to hear this in the church where roles and jobs which are often voluntary are so vague and ambiguous. This is the cause of so many hard feelings and resentments. I think we need to take this seriously. Church employees including pastors should have clear job descriptions and so should every person who is serving in the church.)

From The Leadership Ellipse by Robert Fryling