Choosing to be Thankful

A guest post by Amanda Garner.

Photo by: Karen Halbert Photography

We’re in the middle of a 4-week series at our church called “Yours: Your Heart. Your Share. Your Life. Your All.” As part of the series, different people in our church are writing some reflections on our daily scripture readings. This morning’s was written by my wife, Amanda. I hope you’ll take a minute to read these thoughts about thankfulness. They are on point. I realize that I’m partial here, but I’m thankful that I get to see the beautiful, faithful heart of their author on display up close and personal every day.

Psalm 116:12-14
12 What can I give back to the Lord    
for all the good things he has done for me?
13 I’ll lift up the cup of salvation.
I’ll call on the Lord’s name.
14 I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord
in the presence of all God’s people.

What can I give?

As we prayed, our 4 year old thanked God for every piece of furniture in his room and his brothers’ rooms. In the middle of the bedtime hustle, I found the naming of his gratitude to be tedious…but as I reflected on it later, I loved that his little heart could see ordinary desks and beds as gifts in his very own room. If I allow myself to name each of the ordinary blessings in my life- physical, relational, emotional, spiritual- I am simply overcome by the ocean depth of God’s generosity to me. I am drowning in my cup of abundance. How could I ever repay God for that? The psalmist tells us that he lifts up his “cup of salvation” recognizing that all the good things are gifts from our generous God. The psalmist takes on a posture of gratitude.

I really like the way that sounds- “It’s all God’s and I know that and I’m grateful.” The part that really messes with me is when the Holy Spirit nudges me to respond to God’s generosity by imitating its abundance. I don’t mind to give out of excess. It’s easy to offer my surplus or leftovers, but emulating God’s extravagant generosity requires me to be much more open-handed with “my” time, “my” money, “my” energy, “my” home, “my” family, “my” plans. The psalmist reminds us to call on the name of the Lord when we respond.

“Lord, thank you for the ordinary gifts of breath and sunsets and the gentle breeze. Thank you for laughter and work and forgiveness. Help me to stay alert to where you are working around me today and help me to offer my plans, my time, my money, and my very self to join you with open hands. Amen.”

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