“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
At times, the last thing we can possibly manage is a grateful attitude. When life hands out heavy packages wrapped in difficulty, it feels impossible to muster up gratitude for that intrusive stack.
Jesus’ response to the unnamed woman at the dinner party in Mark 14 offers hope. After her generous act of lavishing him with the expensive ointment, Christ defended her to those who complained that her deed made no logical sense. In describing her sacrificial love Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).
We are familiar with doing beautiful things for Christ – serving and giving, sharing and going. But in this passage, Jesus’ commendation centers on the fact that the woman didn’t just do something for him. Rather, she did a beautiful thing to him. Her offering touched Christ deeply.
Could we ever communicate that depth of love? How do we demonstrate to Christ that level of unguarded, all-encompassing, out-of-the ordinary devotion?
Consider this: express thankfulness to Christ even if it comes as a sacrifice. Though we cannot make sense of what is unfolding, we show that we trust God to do all things well by choosing to be grateful for the very thing that is worthy of complaint. Clueless as to how our circumstances might develop, we choose to honor him, worship him, and thank him for being supremely in charge and trustworthy. Though it might defy logic, this grateful response is beautiful to Christ.
More often than not, we take God’s countless gifts for granted, magnify our areas of need, and act discontented with what he has allowed. What if we chose gratefulness rather than greediness? What if we shortened our list of grumblings and increased our inventory of appreciation? What if we looked for opportunities to be grateful to God rather than cataloging where our life has fallen short?
Undoubtedly, our losses are primarily where we learn perspective, gaining insight and enjoyment for all the wonders we still enjoy. Being grateful for the waiting, the disappointments, and the less-than-perfect outcomes will bring us a share of humility, increasing our capacity to know and be known by God.
In the process, one of our greatest discoveries just might be that gratitude produces joy – for us and for all those around. Gratitude opens our eyes wide to all of life’s ordinary wonders and delights, and liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.
A spirit of gratefulness is a gift you extend to Christ and to others with no proof of the return on your investment or the lifelong impact it will have for years to come.
Two thousand years ago one woman handed Christ a beautiful gift. Her story still inspires us today.
“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:31).
Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
Photo Credit: Marc Schultz on Unsplash