Training for gratitude

By Dave Henning / March 18, 2015

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”- Romans 1:21

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”- Thornton Wilder

As John Ortberg concludes Chapter 15 of Soul Keeping, he notes that entitlement is the default mode of the human race.  Entitlement and gratitude are inversely proportionate: the bigger our sense of entitlement, the smaller our sense of gratitude.  Pastor Ortberg explains why, for the soul, ingratitude is a sin:

“Entitlement grows deep within us.  This is why, for the soul, ingratitude is not just a psychological problem or an impoverishment of our emotional experience.  It is a sin.”

John states that we need to be in training for gratitude.  In Jesus’ day, devout Israelites would pray what is called The Eighteen Benedictions in the morning when they woke up, at night before they went to bed, and in the middle of the day.  Each benediction began, “Blessed are you, God.”  The Hebrew term for gratitude, hikarat hatoo, literally means “recognizing good.”

When we say “Blessed are you, O Lord,” we not only are expressing gratitude, but we are telling God we want to make Him happy and praise Him for our gratitude.  It’s a subtle reminder that gratitude blesses both giver and receiver.

Today’s question: How has entitlement been an issue during your desert, land between time?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Dark night of the soul”

About the author

Dave Henning

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