Lately, I've been pondering the transformative power of giving thanks.
Gratitude has the power to transform our greatest challenges into doors of hope.
One door of hope in my life has been the necessity to unlearn negative thought patterns. This challenge has presented me with a unique opportunity to adopt new habits and cultivate healthy attitudes that will lead to a more joyful, peaceful and whole life. My door of hope.
One of the greatest tools that I've added to my tool belt thus far (perhaps second only to praise) is the practice of gratitude.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
Giving thanks makes me think about the famous passage in the Bible when Jesus miraculously feeds over 5,000 people when a crowd unexpectedly gathers to hear him speak.
Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”... One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”... So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
John 6: 5-13 (edited)
Many may be familiar with the story. A few points stick out to me.
The young man simply offered to Jesus what he had. He did not allow the smallness of his gift and the largess of the need to make him withhold. Rather than keeping what he had to offer to himself, he let go, and gave it to Jesus.
Then something exciting happens. And I mean before the food is multiplied: Jesus gave thanks.
In another gospel, it says Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed it, and broke it.
And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
Gratitude proceeds multiplication. Always.
Sometimes we are looking outside ourselves, perhaps asking How will I be able to meet this need? We may be asking God to provide for the challenge we are facing. But He may be asking us, what do you have in your hand?
So the Lord said to him [Moses], “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A rod.”
Perhaps the key to our provision it is not in gaining something new, but being thankful for and working with what we already have. Thankfulness opens our eyes to the resources we have within arms reach - to see what we have in our hand.
Gratitude unlocks the ability to creatively multiply what we have to meet every need and to face every challenge. In that way, perhaps creativity and gratitude are linked.
As we enter the holiday season, it is tempting to become focused on the material things to purchase, or perhaps the events to attend. But I encourage you to count your blessings. How do you work to develop thankfulness in your life?