Lessons in Gratitude

I can’t stand sand, but I love the ocean.

As you can imagine this makes going to the beach with my family problematic. The sand drives me nuts because it finds it’s way into everything. You can end up finding sand 6 months after your visit.  I’ve often told my wife I wish there was a manicured lawn all the way down to the water at the beach, but no one builds castles of grass with their kids, so I endure.

After walking through a hectic time of productive ministry I was very much looking forward to a trip to the beach with the family. (Pause) You need to know something about me. I’m nortorious for having huge expectations for family events and trips. When they don’t come together as I envision, I can be like a sulking puppy on Christmas. (I’ve never seen a puppy sulk on Christmas, but if they sulk like I envision it’s got to be pretty pathetic. < See what I mean)

This flaw can be a blessing in disguise because I’m always on the look out for that special moment. A moment I can capture in my mind that makes a trip worth it: a view, a look, an experience with my family when we’re all completely in the moment. I experienced one of these moments the evening before we came home this last week. The sun was setting and my family and I were walking alone on the beach as far as the eye could see. (I shared a picture of that moment here.)

In that moment I was overwhelmed with the truth of this scripture:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17 ESV)

Two thoughts of gratitude paraded across my heart:

“God I’m so grateful for the blessing of this moment.” The view of his creation was astounding. The rolling waves crashing in. The breeze gently blowing in from the ocean as the sun was setting. I was even thankful for the sand between my toes! More than anything I was comforted by the abounding peace that comes from knowing how good God is in spite of me.

Secondly, I felt a deep abiding love my wife and boys. I made it a point during the trip to tell each of them what a gift they were to me. I wanted them to know how much they’re loved and cared for.

It was a great trip, but I want to pass a challenge on to you as you head into this week:

1. Look for moments in your life that you’re grateful for and give God his due! You don’t have to be on vacation to do this, these can be found in the ordinary happenings of every day life (dinner, the weather, a moment with someone you care deeply for.) You will see these moments more often when you’re looking for them. When you see one: take a moment, pray, thank God for his goodness.

2. Express your gratitude towards others. People can’t read your mind. Just because you’re grateful for someone doesn’t mean they know it. Don’t ever assume someone knows how you feel. Gratitude not shared does little for others. There’s an overwhelming joy that comes in expressing gratitude to those you’re grateful for. Say it out loud, send a card or a letter,  make the call….just let them know.

Look for that which you’re thankful for and share it.

Your turn! What are you grateful for? Share below!