Guest Post by Mark Lawson
A Grateful Heart
Gratitude is more than the expression of thanks. True gratitude is an acknowledgement of the good in our lives. More than this, however, it is acceptance of that good. When a waiter brings food and drink to our table, we say, “thank you.” But we are doing more than merely acknowledging the arrival of our order. We are, in fact, accepting what the waiter has provided. Once our meal has arrived, we don’t merely look at our food (although we may give thanks for the meal). To the contrary, we begin to eat, accepting what has been given to us.
So it is with “every good gift and every perfect gift… [that] cometh down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17). Do we graciously accept what our Father-Mother God gives us on a daily basis? Are we accepting the unlimited love coming from “our Father” if we don’t express gratitude, or an acknowledgement, of the unlimited good that He provides?
In her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, and then we try to give information to this infinite Mind. We plead for unmerited pardon and for a liberal outpouring of benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.”
On my way to work each day, I see a man by the side of the road waiving to each passing vehicle. On other days, I’ve thought that the man is “not right” or surely he would not stand by the road with no apparent purpose, waving at each passing car. Today, however, I thought more deeply about him, and I was grateful for his perseverance, his dedication to his “task”, and I knew that he must possess that spark of life that God has given to every aspect of His creation.
When I take the time to acknowledge the good around me, however small to human apprehension, I’m accepting that good into my life. I’m “giving to God” thanks for all that he has done, and I can trust that the “Lord of hosts…will pour…out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal 3:10.)
A favorite hymn establishes the power of gratitude:
A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, Godlike grace
To come to perfect bloom.
A grateful heart a fortress is,
A staunch and rugged tower,
Where God’s omnipotence, revealed,
Girds man with mighty power.
A grateful heart a temple is,
A shrine so pure and white,
Where angels of His presence keep
Calm watch by day or night.
Grant then, dear Father-Mother, God,
Whatever else befall,
This largess of a grateful heart
That loves and blesses all.
Mr. Lawson is First Reader of Christian Science Society, Bristol, Tennessee and he may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. A web site devoted to the teachings of Christian Science is http://www.spirituality.com/, and the official web site of The First Church of Christ, Scientist is www.tfccs.com.