There is a daily devotional book called “Jesus Calling” that appears to be quite popular. Two different people have given me copies of this book. The author is Sarah Young and she claims that the messages were given to her by Christ to be shared with others. I have to confess that I tend to be skeptical when people make claims such as this but I also have to admit as I’ve read these daily entries the last couple of months there have been numerous times I felt the words were indeed divine. Yesterday’s reading is a good example. It concerned thankfulness. The reading begins: “Bring me the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun.” It then goes on to talk about how Eve lost her thankful heart when she began to desire the forbidden fruit found in the Garden of Eden. The point is made that when we focus on and desire what we don’t or can’t have we usually lose our sense of gratitude.
The writer then says, “When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is ‘fixed.’ When you approach Me with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through. Walk in the Light with Me by practicing the discipline of thanksgiving.”
These are words I needed to hear. I’d be surprised if you didn’t need to hear them, too, for it truly is difficult for us to remain grateful for God’s many blessings when we fix our gaze or that which we don’t or can’t have. We will experience much more peace and joy in life if we can learn to focus on what we do have, not what we don’t. The apostle Paul said he had “learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” (Philippians 4:12) It would be nice if we could learn to do the same.
The words from this daily devotional also remind us that living with an attitude of gratitude will open our eyes to all the blessings that surround us. We won’t take for granted the sun, the flowers, the budding trees, the birds singing around us or the grass growing at our feet. God’s blessings literally surround us every day but if our minds are darkened by ingratitude we’ll miss these blessings. What a shame that would be!
I suggest we take the words from this devotional reading to heart. Let’s all strive to walk in the light of God’s presence and practice daily the discipline of thanksgiving. We have nothing to lose by doing so and everything to gain.
(I took the top image at Cypress Gardens in South Carolina, the middle image somewhere along the coast of California, and the bottom image at Redwood National Park.)