Welcome to Day 10 of the Thankful Hearts giveaway! I can’t believe there’s just one more day to go after today! Just as a reminder – You can keep up with all the posts in the giveaway series by clicking on the Thankful Hearts giveaway graphic in the sidebar. More chances to win each day!
Today, I am honored to share with you Jennifer Rodewald’s thoughts on gratitude.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17, NKJV.
Thankfulness: a feeling or expression of gratitude (www.dictionary.com)
Interesting. Over the past few years I’ve really been rolling over the idea of gratitude in my mind. It’s one of those things like “love.” We say it. Talk about it. Preach it. But really…
Do I do it?
Am I grateful?
I was looking through some studies on this topic and came across this quote from The Handbook of Bible Application (2nd edition). “One of the first marks of rejecting God is forgetting to thank him.”
Dude. That’s bad. Really, really bad.
The posture of gratitude is necessary for worship. Also, and this needs some serious think time (for me, at least), the posture of gratitude is actually much more than attitude. It’s a doing thing.
I am thankful. So, how does that play out?
Service. Kindness. Selflessness. Love. You know, the doing stuff. So, when I say “thank you, Jesus, for this new day,” to mean it sincerely, I think I’ve got to take this new day and do whatever is necessary throughout the hours to use it for His glory. From doing the dishes with a good attitude (ugh, really? Gotta do that?), to shuttling my kids hither and yon, and writing a story that sings of His mighty love.
Gratitude works so the attitude shows.
With that in mind, I love that Thanksgiving comes right before Christmas. For several years now, my family and I serve at an annual community dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and this has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. It’s work, and a lot of it. Sometimes it’s awkward, because we don’t know many of the people who show up. But it’s beautiful. It’s community, and a letting go of what may divide us. It’s the joy of service, offering our hands and hearts in the name of Jesus. And it’s stepping beyond ourselves.
Thanksgiving has become like a preparation time, to really remember what my posture is supposed to be as I approach the advent of Christ—the ultimate gift and giver. In that preparation, I begin to look around, and then back at myself. Am I living gratitude by serving others? Do I show my thankfulness by giving love? What about generosity? To I give of myself, my time, my resources, keeping in mind the great measure of what I have been given?
It’s a high calling, this idea of worshiping with a thankful heart, but the thing of it that I’ve discovered is that there’s a unique freedom in filling up on gratitude. The bonds of self-doubt, guilt, and frustration break away. All there is room for, once I am set upon thanksgiving, is worship. And I do know this: the fragrance of worship saturated with gratitude is pleasing to our God. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NKJV. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”)
How about you? Have you found the act and worship of gratitude to be freeing? I’d love to hear your story!
One of the books included in the Thankful Hearts giveaway is Jennifer’s new Christmas novella, Ordinary Snowflakes.
Someone has noticed me. A secret admirer? A man with a good heart, who sees how much I actually need help, even though I never admit it? Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful story—a romance full of hope and second chances and love.
A secret Santa gift left on Kale Brennan’s front porch opens up a fresh view of her ordinary life, and perhaps of God. Maybe she does matter. Maybe God sees her—as does a new-to-town music teacher who has her seven-year-old daughter gushing and her own knees buckling with his killer smile. But as Kale embraces new possibilities, a staple in her life—a man who is kind and steady, not to mention necessary for her injured daughter’s recovery—also snatches her attention in an unexpected way. Will the one pursuing her with his secret gift and kind gestures be the one her heart longs for in the end?
Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.
Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.
After growing up in Denver, Jen moved to Nebraska to attend college where she met and married a Husker. She now lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, laughs at her horses and chickens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.
Comment on this post by answering the question below and then head over to the kickoff page to claim the new entry for today!
Question for giveaway entry: How have you found the act and worship of gratitude to be freeing?
Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the giveaway by hearing from Janet Ferguson – plus another chance to win!