Gratitude challenge – mindfulness required

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By Dave Henning / January 28, 2020

“A few years ago I issued a gratitude challenge to our congregation.  The challenge?  Thank God for the things you typically take for granted.  The gratitude challenge requires an extra measure of mindfulness, revealing just how much we take for granted. . . .  And while some may think this exercise borders on overkill, maybe that’s because we underappreciate God’s attention to detail.”- Mark Batterson

As Mark Batterson continues Chapter 8 of Double Blessing, he notes that African acacia trees communicate with each other.  So, when a giraffe starts eating an acacia tree, that tree releases a chemical into the air.  Consequently, all nearby acacias detect the scent and start producing toxic chemicals.  All before the giraffe gets to them.  And, Pastor Batterson adds, “this is nothing short of a miracle, bless God.”

However, Mark observes, when we eat an apple or apricot or avocado, we assume we’re winning the gratitude game.  if we simply thank God for the fruit.  But, the author counters, do you thank God for the tree that fruit grew on?  Or do you bless that tree?

An observant Jew, Pastor Batterson notes, speaks at least one hundred blessing a day.  Because during the time of King David, it’s reported that a devastating plague claimed the lives of one hundred Israelites  each day.  As a result, to counteract the plague, a council of Jewish rabbis prescribed the practice of reciting one hundred blessings a day.

In addition, the Talmud states that is you enjoy something without saying a blessing, that’s akin to stealing – or embezzling – it.  Therefore, Mark asserts, the only way to make restitution involves recognizing that God provides every good and perfect gift.

In conclusion, Pastor Batterson pushes the gratitude envelope a little further:

“I try to live by a little maxim: ‘Whatever you don’t turn into praise turns into pride.’  And there are no exceptions. which means there is no alternative.  One of the simplest ways to position ourselves for future blessings is by praising God for past blessings.  In fact, we’re not ready for the next blessing until we have adequately thanked God for the last one!”

Today’s question: If you took the gratitude challenge, what would it reveal about the blessings you take for granted?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The science of gratitude put into practice”

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Dave Henning

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