MANILA,  October 1
, 2004 (STARweek) TOMORROW BEGINS TODAY By Dr. Harold J. Sala - "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." Ė Hebrews 12:28

The American poet Carl Sandburg said, "When a nation goes down...[or] a society perishes, one condition may always be found. They have lost sight of what had brought them along." What is true of nations is also true of individuals.

Millions of people do on occasion pause to give thanks for their blessings. But often, gratitude is so nebulous, offered so indifferently, that it is hard to know who is being thanked and for what.

May I suggest three words that will help you define gratitude? They are the prepositions to, for, and in. First, gratitude should be directed to someone or something. You are grateful to God for His blessings, or to your parents for what they did, or to a person for giving you a job. Gratitude without a connection is nebulous and meaningless.

The second preposition for clarifies the gratefulness you feel. For what are you grateful? Your health, your family, your faith, your hope of heaven, your husband or wife? When asked to list what he was thankful for, one little boy wrote, "My glasses!" "Yes," said the teacher, "so you can see better". "No," responded the lad, "Iím thankful for my glasses because they keep the boys from fighting with me and the girls from kissing me." The kid understood the matter clearly.

Finally, we must learn to be thankful in every situation. This was Paulís directive as he wrote, "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Godís will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This may well be the ultimate step in the ladder of gratitude. This is so because you cannot be thankful in every situation until you have the confidence that God is in total control of your life and destiny, and that everything that happens to you matters to our Heavenly Father.

When you can accept the fact that God is in control of your life, you learn to relax and thank God that He is bigger than your loneliness, your pain, and your financial needs. When a friend of mine finds himself in a hole that seems too large to dig out of, he smiles and says, "God, you have a great opportunity now to do something really significant."

When Godís people forgot their heritage and the source of their blessing, they also forgot how to say, "Thank you!"

"For you are thankless in addition to all your other faults," was the reproof of the Almighty (see Ezekiel 16:43 the living bible).

Have you discovered that showing gratitudeĖlearning to express appreciation, and saying "Thank you"Ėis a habit that must be learned? Thereís something about our nature that makes gratitude difficult to express. However, always showing appreciation is a sign of a personís being at peace with himself and his world. May God deliver us from the sin of being thankless.

Resource Reading: Psalm 107

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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