SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE 13/10/2018

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Spirit of Gratitude


Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

(l Thessalonians 5:16-l8, KJV).


 Scripture Reading: Genesis 50:12-20


Objective: to understand that gratitude is a choice to focus on God's goodness.


Introduction: When you think of gratitude, what Bible stories come to mind? Perhaps the sinner who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (Luke 7:40-47) or the leper who returned to thankjesus after his healing, while the other nine didn't (17:12-18). Many other stories like this are in Scripture. Gratitude is a major biblical theme. Since we usually think of gratitude in terms of things to be thankful for, Joseph’s story may not come to mind. Joseph obeyed his father and went to check on his brothers; his reward was to be sold into slavery. Even as a slave, he proved so responsible that Potiphar trusted him with his entire estate. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, he re- fused to sin against God; his reward was to be thrown in prison. There, he was so dependable that the keeper of the prison gave him charge of all the prisoners. When Joseph interpreted a dream for Pharaoh's butler, a fellow prisoner at the time, he asked the butler to speak to Pharaoh on his behalf; the butler forgot him. lt seems that Joseph didn't have much to be thankful for.

Yet throughout the story, God blessed everything Joseph did. That's why, despite recurring setbacks, he kept rising to the top. Though God was willing to bless his work, each time Joseph had to decide whether to be a victim or a victor. He repeatedly chose to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. in his attitude toward his brothers, he demonstrated confidence in God's goodness: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . .  (v. 20). Joseph chose to focus, not on the evil that befell him but on the blessings of God. That's gratitude.

Every life is a mixed bag of treasure and tragedy. Where we place our focus is our choice. We can focus on what we don't have or be thankful for what we do have. We can focus on the injustices we suffer or on the grace we've been given. Everything we have, even each breath we take, is a gift from our good and loving God, who patiently waits for us to trust Him and return His love. Gratitude is a choice. So is ingratitude.

During the Holocaust, Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were sent to the Ravensbruck death camp for helping Jews escape. in her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie shares a story of her sister's faith in God. They had recently been transferred to a flea-infested barracks, yet were grateful to still have their smuggled Bible.

That night they read 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “ln every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Betsie prayed and thanked God for their Bible, but then she also thanked God for the fleas. Corrie bit her lip. She wasn’t thanking God for the fleas. Her sister was on her own.

Soon other prisoners learned of Corrie and Betsie's Bible, and their nightly audience grew larger and larger. They were certain they’d get caught, but to their surprise, their barracks went unsupervised night after night. Then one day Betsie learned why. She overheard a guard refuse to enter their barracks because it was infested with fleas! '

 Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good for those who love God. Do we believe God's Word? if we do, we can thank Him for all things — even the fleas. That's the spirit of gratitude, our sure confidence that God is good - all the time.

 

Questions for Study and Discussion

1 What three things does 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tell us to do? How do they help us understand what gratitude follows from, and is focused on?

 

2 Discuss how the goodness of God informs our understanding of gratitude. Psalm 107115, 21, 31. Share another verse with the class about God's goodness.


3 What did you learn about gratitude as attitude from the stories of Joseph and Corrie Ten Boom?


 4 Compare Genesis 50:12-20 and Romans 8:28. Why can Paul and Joseph be grateful in every circumstance?


 5 What is your favorite Bible verse/story about the spirit of gratitude? Why?



CONCLUSl0N: The attitude of gratitude is our joyful confidence in the goodness of God. Focus on God's blessings — and thank Him every day! As David sang, “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19, KJV).

 

Apply This Week

Look for and document specific opportunities throughout the week where you can exercise the spirit of gratitude, regardless of the circumstance.


2 Replies | Last update 5 days ago
5 days ago   #2

gratitude is an act of appreciation, the spirit of gratitude can be cultivated especially when bad things happens in our life.

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