REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, was first posted on April 21, 2013. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –
The apostle Paul, after having linked prayer with joy, declares, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” We can readily see how these three disciplines—joy, prayer and gratitude—are linked: a grateful heart gives thanks in prayers to God, which sparks joy in our hearts. In other words, we train ourselves to be joyous and grateful by giving thanks in prayer.
Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds. We cannot try to be grateful; rather, we must train ourselves in gratitude. This doesn’t simply mean that we offer more prayers of thanksgiving, although that would help. Fundamentally, our training must move us away from a sense of entitlement and move us toward humility because gratitude always involves a posture of humility.
However, when we succumb to an attitude of entitlement or a sense that someone is indebted to us, we will not have a thankful heart. But the awareness that we have received an undeserved gift will increase our capacity to be grateful. In other words, the more humble we become, the more grateful we will be.
I invite you to join me in training, which certainly includes offering prayers of thanksgiving unto the Lord without ceasing, to engender the heart of gratitude. Moreover, let us work diligently to weaken our sense of entitlement. As the first step, let us remind ourselves daily that everything that we possess—our bodies, minds, educations, jobs, families, relationships, food, etc.—are all gifts from a gracious God given to an undeserving people.
As we live in recognition of such amazing grace, our joy will continue to increase.
Prayer: Father, what an awesome God you are! Help me to taste and see Your goodness as I put my life in Your hands. I put my trust in You alone for I know that You are faithful. May I continue to grow in my knowledge (both theological and experiential) of You, that I might always have a heart of gratitude. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 8