The ecstasy of gratitude- the great joy of life

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By Dave Henning / August 5, 2018

“The great secret joy of life — the prize that we think getting richer will bring us– is the ecstasy of gratitude.  Gratitude is how those rich toward God — rich in being, not just having — play the game.”- John Ortberg

“What gifts am I receiving from the universe today?  And what if they don’t fit or they aren’t my color?”- Shanti Goldstein

In Chapter 13 (“Playing with Gratitude”) of When the Game is Over, John Ortberg states one gift God gives us is the capacity for gratitude.  Furthermore, Pastor Ortberg defines, gratitude:

  • is the ability to experience life as a gift
  • opens us up to wonder, delight, and humility
  • makes our hearts generous
  • liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation
  • is the gift God gives us that enables us to be blessed by all His other gifts
  • keeps our lives from degenerating into envy, dissatisfaction, and complaints- taking what we have for granted, and always wanting more

However, Pastor Ortberg underscores, we don’t give gratitude to God because He wants to make certain we know how much trouble He went to over us.  Also, there’s an illusion of gratitude.  That illusion – we’ll experience more gratitude if we get new stuff we really want.  In addition, writing in Final Rounds, author James Dodson quotes his terminally ill father:

“The danger of great ambition is that you’ll work so hard, you may someday wake up and find that the things you really wanted were the things you had all along.”

In conclusion, John cautions against being “hard of thanking.”  When you find it hard to give thanks, it takes a gift of epic proportions to actually feel grateful.  In contrast, when you possess a high capacity for thankfulness, you have a low threshold of gratitude.  Thus, you see unearned blessings in a sunset or a smile from a friend.

So, the author exhorts, open the windows of your heart to gratitude.  As a result, you’re more likely to seize gratitude when it passes through the neighborhood.

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you feel the ecstasy of gratitude?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Words that will feed souls”

About the author

Dave Henning

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