Gratitude – a habit that never goes out of season

“I doubt that there is such a thing as a measure of spirituality, but if there is, gratitude would be it.

The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies) by M. Craig Barnes

If there is one metric to measure our faith, I am with Barnes that it is gratitude. The level of gratitude in our lives points toward an inner realization of what we have received. Little gratitude indicates a self-dependence, merit-based “I deserve” or “I earned” this mentality. Gratitude shows the inner posture of humility stemming from the realization that all we have is a gift from God (often through grace bearers God places in our lives.)

I also believe gratitude stems from a life well-examined. It’s not that we don’t want to be grateful, we often just rush to the next thing in our life and don’t take the necessary time to reflect and allow the gratitude to swell.

Rather than goals this year, I am focusing on habits, systems, and ways of living. Goals come and go. Once completed they are set aside and we take up new ones. But habits and systems form us for a lifetime. It has been said that we form our habits and then our habits form us.

I have been practicing gratitude by journaling for a few years now. It is part of my morning devotion. Taking time each day to reflect upon God’s gifts. A simple thing, not a time consuming thing, but an act that nonetheless changes me for the good as it shapes my perspective as a steward of grace instead of a consumer of goods.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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