Wednesday, June 9, 2010


One resource I stumbled upon a few years ago was the Walk in the Word website. I was actually trying to find a sermon I'd heard by John McArthur and not really remembering the name ended up searching and finding James MacDonald. After listening to some of his sermons I really like his teaching.

He has a newsletter you can subscribe to at It is called the Weekly Walk. The topic this week was gratitude. James talks about 3 levels - elementary school thankfulness, high school thankfulness and. graduate school thankfulness. Sometimes I fear my prayers put me at the elementary level. I'm thankful for the weather, my health, food to eat, a house to live in. It is like a grocery list that contains the same staples each week with really no thought to it. I can kind of do it in my sleep. But hey, I was thankful, right.

When we graduate to high school we begin to look for deeper things to be thankful for. Maybe we grumble a bit but we decide we can be happy about something. I had this happen at Burger King. I was taking lunch to the field for my husban and his helpers. I placed my order ending it with an order of small fries for myself (even though the fries really didn't fit in with my diet plan). When I got away from the drive-thru, I had no fries and a chicken sandwich instead!

Now at my adolescent level of gratitude I immediately thought, "Now who could get chicken sandwich from small order of fries! So now I had no fries for myself and an extra sandwich that I didn't need. Plus the sandwich cost a couple dollars more than the fries! I order off the value menu to save money not spend more! I started to turn around but I know what a pain it is to take something back to the counter. You have to go in. Wait in line. Get the frustrated look from the already busy employee. Plus they never act like they could have made a mistake. So I decided to go on.

I got to the field and explained to the guys I had this extra sandwich and come to find out Tim's dad would have rather had a chicken sandwich anyway, or so he said. And you know, in the long run I really didn't need the fries. They are not a healthy choice so my body was better off(and besides I stole a few of Tim's anyway). Knowing all this after the fact, I could then be thankful for the sandwich that I didn't order. But this is still only high school thankfulness.

This then brings up the idea of graduate-level gratitude that James talked about in his newsletter. He says,

"Ephesians 5:18-20 says, "Giving thanks to God at all times for all things." No matter what's happening; no matter how dark the moment is, God is in control. He can be explicitly trusted. He's working out a purpose beyond what you can imagine. Some of it you'll see in this life; some of it you'll see in the life to come. Give thanks to God. Go for it. Give thanks to God for the hardest part of your life. Just say, "Thank You God for this. You are good!" Watch the blessing begin to flow your way."

Now wouldn't that have been something new. If I truly lived by Eph. 5:18 I would have immediately thanked God for the chicken sandwich, not knowing yet who might need it and for sparing me from artery clogging cholesterol that might lead to heart disease! If only I had realized that God might be working in my best interest (who doesn't want a happy father-in-law) my attitude would have been one of gratitude.

This is a lesson I'll have to work on. This requires discipline and slowness on our usual reactions. God is working out a purpose beyond what we can imagine. Wow.

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