Dec 17 2021 Model of Gratefulness, Part Five
Gratitude is a lifestyle. I find that the people who are grateful in life as a lifestyle have a whole different quality about them. When I have an attitude of gratitude consistently in my own life, it makes a difference not only in how I feel and think, but how I treat people and go about my life. Psalm 103:1-5 shares five benefits for having a lifestyle and attitude of gratitude. Forgiveness, healing, redemption, crowning with lovingkindness and mercy, and last but not least, satisfaction. Verse five says, “Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
I know a lot of people who are younger that appear older. There’s not much enthusiasm or hop in their step. There’s not much liveliness about them. It’s not just a personality difference. They don’t have something that’s bringing them alive every day of their life! But what that verse says is that even as you get older, you can have that renewed vigor and energy in your life.
The Amplified Bible version of verse five says, “Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!”
That’s my kind of stuff!! In Psalm 92:14 it says, “[Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment].”
Do you have spiritual vitality? Is your faith just a Sunday thing or every once in a while thing or a Christmas and Easter thing? Or do you have spiritual vitality 24 hours a day?
Is it real? Is he real in your life? Listen, we live in a time when we need models of people who are alive in Christ. Is he alive in you?
If you’re young, you need to remember Psalm 103:5. You might think that you’ll never grow old.
If you’re older, you need to look at Psalm 103:5, because it gives you great encouragement. You can have strength and vitality as you grow older for the Lord.
The more I learn, the older I grow, the older I am. We live in a culture where everybody who is older wants to be younger and where everybody who is younger wants to be older. But so few people want to grow up and be mature.
One of my favorite writers, Brennan Manning says that grateful people are a delight to be around and their spirit is catching. It is simply not possible to be simultaneously great and resentful.
Listen, I don’t want to be a grumpy old man. As I grow older, I want to be a grateful young old man.
I want to tell you about a friend of mine named Ed Yates. I met him three years ago and he was 91 years old. I challenged him to start meeting with younger guys: discipling them in their faith and helping them to grow up and flourishing their faith. He started discipling other men as it says to do in Matthew 28:19. And when I first checked on him a few months after he started, I asked him how old are the guys you’re meeting with? He told me that 3 of them were 30, one was 50, and another was 60. He met with these guys for one year, one on one for an hour every week. And then he took three more guys after he graduated those guys and did the same thing. Ed died this last year at the age of 93.
These guys that he poured his life into? They will never be the same again. Have you had that experience?
Listen, we have got to ask the Lord to bring us alive, whether we’re young, middle aged or older. Life is only worth living if we know him and are living out his purposes in our life and making a difference and an impact on the lives of other people for Jesus Christ.
In this remarkable touching story by Dr. John Kavanaugh, there’s a woman in an extended care hospital. She has some kind of wasting disease. A student of Dr. Kavanaugh’s happened upon her on a coincidental visit. That student kept going back, drawn by the strange force of the woman’s joy. Though she could no longer move her legs and arms, she would say, “I’m just so happy that I can move my neck.” When she no longer could move her neck, she would say, “I’m just so glad that I can see and hear.” When the young student finally asked the old woman what would happen if she lost her sound and sight, the gentle old woman said, “I’ll just be so grateful that you came to visit me.”
David Lewis, in observing this story, said this: “Like a piece of grit in our eye, or a grumbling in our stomach, we notice when small things go wrong. Yet with a healthy, pain-free body, we often forget to remember and be grateful. May we take our focus away from the grit and the grumble, and focus instead on life’s incredible gifts.”
The simple words: thank you. I’m thankful. And then living that way. Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Since as members of one body, you were called to peace and be thankful.” The Roman philosopher, Ciro, did not overstate the case when he wrote “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all others.”
You think about that. Humility, faith, hope, love, kindness, generosity, respect, joy, forgiveness, all these virtues, and many others are connected with that one key virtue: an attitude of gratitude.
Finally, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “No matter what happens, always be thankful for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.”
This is a life changer. You can’t just determine to be grateful. Turn your life over to Jesus and say, “Jesus help me to be faithful, help me to be a thankful person.”
You think about that.