Gratitude

I have actually been working on this post since July 26th.  The problem is I have a painting in my head I need to get onto paper.  Likewise, I have a post I need to get into the computer.  So, while I’m painting I am thinking of my post, and vice versa.  So I am compromising, my netbook is sitting on the edge of my painting table.  I hope this doesn’t affect the quality of either of them. 

Weekends at church I sit in the front row and take notes.  I do this for a number of reasons, the main one being I will remember what the pastor said more clearly if I take notes.  Sometimes my notes just consist of a word or two, sometimes I write volumes.  I do tend to go back and review what I’ve written sometimes, especially if the topic is related to something I’m writing about here.  I don’t see a lot of people taking notes in church but there are more than I expected. 

Gratitude is a huge subject.  The importance of gratitude has recently been impressed upon me.  For the past few weeks every passage of scripture, every devotional, every book, every conversation somehow tied back to the topic of gratitude.  Okay, some of the references were a little oblique but they managed to point me in the direction of gratitude all the same.  For that reason I thought I would sit down and work out my thoughts on the topic of gratitude.

First, I thought I’d start with the dictionary definition.  I got this from Dictionary.com:

grat·i·tude

  /ˈgræt ɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/  [grat-i-tood, -tyood]–noun

the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin grātitūdin-  (stem of grātitūdō ) thankfulness, equivalent to grāt ( us ) pleasing + -i- -i- + -tūdin- -tude

—Related forms

o·ver·grat·i·tude, noun

un·grat·i·tude, noun

 —Synonyms
thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness.

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2011.
Cite This Source

Word Origin & History

gratitude

c.1500, from M.L. gratitudo  “thankfulness,” from L. gratus  “thankful, pleasing” (see grace).

The quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.  And when I look up thankful it says “feeling or expressing gratitude”.  I felt like I was running around in circles.   Until I read the rest of the definition: appreciative.  Well, now I could look up appreciative and then appreciation and end up circling back to gratitude again.  So I decided to stop looking up definitions and look in another direction. 

You know where I went next.  Yup, the Bible.  So I plugged the word “gratitude” into BibleStudyTools.com and selected “NIV.”  I got two references.  Acts 24:3 says, “Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” and Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”  I know they discuss gratitude more than 2 times in the Bible.  Why, I know I plugged the word into another search engine and got pages and pages of references.  Now let me see, where did I put that list???

Hmmm, I got three double-columned pages of references but when looking at them the references don’t always include the word “gratitude.”  Great, I love synonyms, they help clarify meanings.  So here are the references I found to be most helpful to me.  Your list may be different, as I said, I found three pages of references, 2 columns per page. 

  1. Gratitude is commanded: Psalms 50:14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High.”
  2. Gratitude should be offered through Christ: Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 
  3. Gratitude should be offered in the name of Christ: Ephesians 5:20 “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  4. Gratitude should be offered in everything: Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
  5. Gratitude should be offered always:  Ephesians 5:19,20  “speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  6. Gratitude should be given for the goodness and mercy of God:  Psalm 106:1  “Praise the Lord.  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 
  7. Gratitude should be given for the nearness of God: Psalm 75:1  “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, for Your Name is near, men tell of Your wonderful deeds.”

There are so many examples of gratitude in the Bible.  I believe it is because gratitude is something the Lord wants us to remember and hold onto and practice, practice, practice.  There are many benefits to making gratitude a regular practice in your life.  Chief among them is the positive influence gratitude will have on your life.  I know that when I practice gratitude it saturates my life with peace and serenity.  It drowns anger and hostility.  Gratitude prepares the way for joy and happiness in my life. 

On my “Obeying” blog I am attempting to list up to 5 things everyday that I am grateful for in my life.  These five things can be large things or little things.  They just need to be things that I can go to the Lord and express my gratitude for.  I challenge you to do the same thing and see what a change gratitude can make in your life.

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About Go Send or Disobey

John Piper said it succiently... "Go, send, or disobey." This is my journey along path to be a missionary of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This entry was posted in Faith, Gratitude, Hope, Love, missions, Praise. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gratitude

  1. Eric says:

    This is sort of incidental to the topic but you might find it useful if you don’t know it already. The reason you got only two hits for “gratitude” is because a number of different English words have been used to translate a single Greek word. (Actually, in this case there are two Greek words which have each been translated with several English words, some of which overlap.) So, for instance, in Acts 24:3 the word is “eucharistia” which appears 15 times in the Greek text. However, the NIV has only rendered one of those uses as “gratitude”. So in an English search you miss 14 instances of the same exact word as Acts 24:3 uses. You can catch some of those by searching for English synonyms but sometimes the English and Greek don’t map together well. And, of course, searching every synonym takes a while.

    However, even without knowing any Greek you can generally run these searches through http://www.studylight.org. Once you get a verse you’ll see something like this (this is Acts 24:3):
    http://www.studylight.org/desk/?l=en&query=acts+24%3A3&section=0&translation=nas&oq=&sr=1
    If you choose the underlined option “Greek” you get this:
    http://www.studylight.org/isb/bible.cgi?query=Acts+24%3A3&section=0&it=nas&oq=col%25203%3A16&ot=bhs&nt=na&new=1&nb=col&ng=3&ncc=3
    Then you can open the target word (thankfulness in this translation) in a new tab (this is very important – if you click on it you get a window with less information) and scroll down to see a list of books with numbers beside them indicating the number of times that Greek word appears in that book. If you click on the book name you can see all the verses with that word.

    There are a few bugs but it’s a very useful way to run certain sorts of searches. In this case you’d want to check a few of the English uses to make sure there isn’t more than one Greek word being used (in this case there is, another charis-root word) but it’s got some advantages.

    In fact, if the question is “what does this particular word mean?” finding the other uses is often the best way to answer the question.

    • Thank you. I actually did know that greetings, gratitude, grace and more all came from the same root word in Greek but didn’t know how or where to find that. This will help me immensely. I really appreciate your reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

  2. josiah says:

    Shalom Karen…

    Funny thing is(not funny-funny) I have been avoiding this topic for weeks….months even. I’ve alluded(right word?) in my other blog but haven’t fully addressed it in writing. Shooting straight from the hip here now. I have a bit of a problem with the word “challenge” too. Plus #’s 3 and 4 are currently an issue. But I would/will say….”Good for you!!!” 🙂

  3. Now that is some excellent writing.

  4. jakesprinter says:

    Nice post vry helpful 🙂

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