I don’t remember where I first heard or read that phrase. I suspect it was in a book called Life Is Tremendous! , by Charles “Tremendous” Jones. He talked about seeing something positive in everything, saying something positive about everything, and seeing it big and keeping it simple. He warned against “hardening of the attitudes”. And he admonished us to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.”
This is Biblical. In Philippians 2:14 the Apostle Paul says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” And in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 he tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I’m not very good at doing these things, but I know the Bible teaches them.
When it comes to being thankful, I really have a very long list of things to be thankful for. I suspect you do, too. Here are some of mine: my wonderful wife…my son, who’s coming home for Thanksgiving…my daughter and her husband who loves her very much…my two 100% pure, all-beef American grandboys…our wonderful house (remind me of this next year during our remodeling)…the incredible year our church has had, starting with paying off our roof debt last Christmas…for all the new brothers and sisters who’ve joined our church…for all the new people who’ve been visiting our church (and the challenge of remembering their names)…for the excitement of the Operation: Christmas Child Shoebox project coming back with a bang (thank you, Ralph and Tammy!)…for the joy of playing music…for the deeper joy of teaching God’s truths from the Bible, and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ…and most of all, for the Lord Jesus, who endured more for me than I will ever endure for Him…
We do live on a broken planet, full of broken people, and we are all broken inside ourselves. But God is going to fix this broken world, and He starts with our broken, sinful hearts. And even though life is still difficult and challenging, even heartbreaking sometimes, God is still the Giver of all good things (James 1:16-17),and there is still so much for us to thank Him for. “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!” (Psalm 34:3) “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High…The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:14, 23)
Not long after I came to the church somebody gave me this short essay by Charles Swindoll. (I think it was Betty Walton.) I keep it in my study desk with some other things I need to be reminded of regularly. Let me close by sharing it with you.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.Charles Swindoll
Amen! And Soli Deo Gloria!