Being grateful is important in any season of our lives, yet, when God is closing old doors to make way for new ones… being grateful can become twice as hard. Even more so, as God shifts us, the enemy attacks—not only threatening our gratefulness, but our judgement—trying to kill our promise by causing us to give up, grumble, or even believe that the closing doors are a sign of enemy attack instead of Godly preparation.
Near the end of September and into the first of October, we transitioned from the Biblical year 5779 to 5780, and just a couple of months ago, we shifted from the Gregorian year 2019 to 2020. In all these calendar shifts—even the Gregorian—comes a corresponding shift in seasons. Shifting which, with two new decades upon us, is made more prominent…
This shift is perhaps the greatest we will ever know—certainly the greatest thus far—and therefore, many of the doors closing and opening are the largest we have seen. Yet, because the shifts of this season are so great, everything in the natural can feel uncertain…
For many of us, jobs are changing… emotions and relationships are changing… even the weather is changing; and it is easy for all of us to get caught up in what is being taken away. After all, many doors feel an age to open in promise, while seemingly endless rows of doors slam shut.
Yet, one thing that can help each of us make it through this season is gratefulness. A grateful heart is one open to hope—one open to love and faith in God.
Living with a Grateful Heart:
Gratefulness not only comes when we operate in the Fruit of the Spirit, but living with gratefulness can multiply and quicken that fruit into our lives along with many other attributes of God…
Gratefulness Is a Door Opener
When we are grateful, joy quickly follows.
When we are grateful, hope is restored within us.
When we are grateful, we love the One who gives us everything.
When we are grateful, we have faith that we were not created for lack.
When we are grateful, we are kinder to those who are around us.
When we are grateful, we desire to learn more about the One who keeps us.
Gratefulness is a key. One that can cause our seasons to shift and promised doors to open.
Yet, how do we become grateful? How can we see past the pain and disappointment of past seasons?
Well, depending on the place and season we are in—not only in the natural, but also in the spiritual realm—the difficulty level for being grateful may vary. However, it is possible for ANYONE to be grateful when they are willing to shift their perspective to one of Kingdom view.
There are many ways we can start to do this. One way is to explore God’s Word. When we examine the lives of those in the Word, stories of people who were grateful, faithful, etc., God’s goodness comes to life. We are reminded that God keeps everyone who follows Him well in hand. We are reminded that we have much to be grateful for—and much to hope for.
- Job lost EVERYTHING in the natural—his family, wealth, friends, and more—yet, because he did not fall away from God, everything that was stolen was MORE THAN restored to him. His faith and a grateful, loving heart, saw him through.
- “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”—Job 42:10
- Ruth left her comfortable life in Moab to follow Naomi, and even in the face all the hardship she found in Judah, she loved Naomi and did all she commanded her to do—allowing Ruth and Naomi to be redeemed. In everything, Ruth was grateful; for the ability to glean, for Boaz’s kindnesses, and of course, for finding favor with her kinsman redeemer.
- “… ‘The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.”—Ruth 4:11-12
- Jesus, the Son of God, did all things as His Father in Heaven did. He did no wrong and yet, He faced not only the cross, but hell and the grave. He walked in love, He was grateful to be able to do the will of His Father, and in the end, He rose from the very grave to sit at the right hand of His Father.
- “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,”—Acts 7:55
In these few examples, even when things were at their darkest, they trusted in God. Even when all hope seemed lost, they trusted, and God provided. Yet, even as many of the Word lived through the darkest hours and shifting of seasons—such as with Esther fasting and praying before approaching the king—they were not bitter. They—even Job just before things shifted—found it within themselves to be grateful, even if only for the life granted by God.
While it was not always as simple as being grateful that shifted circumstances in the Word, it played a key role. For gratefulness, as discussed above, causes us to find joy, hope, love, and much more in any circumstance. It is a matter of shifting perspective. Taking our eyes off of what we do not have, and placing them on what we do—which always includes God. It is reminding ourselves to pray for others, to be joyful for them, even when we ourselves lack—being grateful that they might prosper.
Our promises WILL come. Yet, as we wait, will we wait upon the Lord? Will we be grateful for the Blood that cleanses us, and the Name which saves?
If we find gratitude in these things, how much greater will our joy be when the promise comes?
It is like the parable of the servants who were given talents—money. The one who was given the least allowed fear to take over and ended up losing even the measure given. Yet, those who used what they were given wisely—those who were grateful for the trust shown to them by their master—they came away with much more… That which, by rights, was their master’s; because the master generously gave.
Our Master gave each of us a certain level of prosperity in the last season, but if we are not grateful for what we have been given—if we allow fear of lack to rob us of our joy—then when this next season at last arrives in fullness… how can God trust us to use a greater level for His Kingdom?
“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.”
“After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”
“… ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”
“‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
—Matthew 25:15, 19, 22-23, 29-30
Therefore, as we each enter into our new season, let us do so with grateful hearts. Let us give out of what God has given us—without fear—and let us do so gladly. That way, when our season is brought into fullness, our Master—God—can bestow upon us an increase; not simply for our benefit, but for the benefit of the Kingdom.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”—Matthew 28:18-20
Let us do the work of our Master, for He has need of us; let us be grateful that He trusts us with this wonderful commission. Let our hearts be grateful and rejoice with His.
“… ‘The Lord has need…’ …”—Matthew 21:3