What is it that you are grateful for? What causes you to give thanks? Those are some big important questions that we will be dealing with for about the next 6 weeks. We have come upon Stewardship season in the church, and this year our theme is “Growing in Gratitude.”
You may have noticed that the front entrance display has been repurposed as a gratitude center, and many of you may have even offered up things you are grateful for on the board. Let me first say a thank you to Carol Pierce for her work that made that possible! As we step into stewardship season, you can expect that every Sunday we will have a special prompt in the sermon for you to stop and give thanks, and then add your thanks to the Gratitude wall. Can you imagine the kind of message that sends to new people coming into the church? The first thing you see is what we are grateful for!
I also want to point out that this season of stewardship where we are focusing on gratitude will be built around Colossians 3:12-17. “Be thankful people. The word of Christ must live in your richly…Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.” It is a powerful piece of scripture that reminds us of the center of our faith—thanks and praise to God.
Gratitude is a powerful force. When we live with thankfulness in our hearts, it changes us. The world is a much better place when we are taking the time to take stock of what we have to be grateful for. If you remember last week’s sermon illustration by A.J. Jacobs, he talked about the way that living with gratitude changed him from being an agnostic to being a reverent agnostic! He spoke of the way being grateful for so many little things—I didn’t fall down the stairs, I didn’t get in a car accident on the way here—made him realize just how miraculous life really is. I think we all tend to lose sight of this.
What’s more, I think gratitude changes our relationship with each other, the world, and with God. When I am at my most grateful, I am more willing to care for others, to give to others, to serve others, and in so doing, serve God. With this kind of attitude, the world is a malleable place that is ready to be shaped into the Kingdom of God. God is never closer to us than when we live as grateful people who are ready to go out into the world in service to God.
So you have been forewarned—we will be spending a lot of time thinking about what we are thankful for! Perhaps this is a good time to start taking stock, so that you are prepared for the season of Thanksgiving to come!