Kids are generally better at showing emotion. I lead worship for adults and I lead songs for kids at Awana (our kids program). It is a no-brainer to tell you that the kids are the more excitable group. They sing with enthusiasm, they jump, they stomp and wave their hands in the air. They are way more fun than adults. I remember singing a number of years ago the classic song, “If you're happy and you know it.” The kids would clap their hands, stomp their feet, say “Amen” and then they would do all three. By the time the song was done we were laughing and out of breath. We were all happy and we knew it! Kids seem to be able to freely express excitement and gratitude openly.
Adults…not so much. It seems that time and life take their toll. We seem to lose our ability to express emotion in a positive way. In his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg tells the story of a man named Hank. Hank was a cranky guy. He did not smile easily, and when he did, the smile often had a cruel edge to it, coming at someone’s expense. He had a knack for discovering islands of bad news in oceans of happiness. He would always find a cloud where others saw a silver lining,”
Hank rarely affirmed anyone. He operated on the assumption that if you complement someone, it might lead to a swelled head, so he worked to make sure everyone stayed humble. His was a ministry of cranial downsizing.
His native tongue was complaint. He carried judgment and disapproval the way a prisoner carries a ball and chain. Although he went to church his whole life, he was never unshackled.
A deacon in the church asked him one day, “Hank, are you happy?”
Hank paused to reflect, then replied without smiling, “Yeah.”
“Well, tell your face,” the deacon said. But so far as anybody knows, Hank’s face never did find out about it.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus
It seems that aging and grumpiness go hand in hand. There is a way to combat this seemingly natural tendency. The Bible actually tells us it is God's will for us. 1 Thesalonians 5:18 states “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Giving thanks or expressing gratitude is not an option, it is an order straight from the top. A memo from God himself. Sometimes it feels like our default setting has been changed so that we express negativity much more easily than gratitude. How do we change our default setting to one of gratitude?
How do we change our default setting to one of gratitude?
On Sunday we suggested that three statements that will help us choose gratitude:
- I KNOW EVERY GOOD THING I HAVE COMES FROM GOD.
- I WILL NOT LET WHAT I WANT ROB ME OF WHAT I HAVE.
- I’LL TURN EVERY BLESSING I HAVE INTO PRAISE.
We concluded with a challenge to take the next 30 days and light up social media with gratefulness. Every day for the next 30 days post something that you are grateful to God for. Include #cbc30daysofgratefulness in the post, so we can follow it.
If your grateful and you know it…tell your face and post it on social media.
Let the gratefulness begin!