“She (Ruth) dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground. ‘How does this happen that you should pick me out.’”
A Time of Gratitude
“The finest test of character is seen in the amount and the power of gratitude we have.”
Milo H. Gates
Have I made a list of all that I have to be grateful for, even in the midst of trials?
How often do I bow before my Father in appreciation for all He has done for me?
“It ought to be as habitual to us to thank as to ask.”
C. H. Spurgeon
“There shall be, Eternal summer in the grateful heart.”
I awoke this summer morning to a sky filled with huge thunderheads that carried a downpour of rain along with flashing lightening and rumbling thunder which echoed all around the large rock pinnacles that surround our valley town.
After sitting in my kitchen and watching this spectacle, I returned to our bedroom to find that Jim was up and had opened all the bedroom windows to let the fresh smell of falling rain permeate our bedroom. As I took a deep breath of the fragrant air in the room, I felt a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the care my Father gives to me – not just today – but every day.
How often, when my daily routine captures my time, I find I become forgetful. I let moments like this morning pass by without taking even a second to whisper a prayer of thankfulness. I am so fond of Celia Thaxter’s words that there is, “An eternal summer, in the grateful heart.” I’ll never forget the first time I read this poem, and I began to let my mind run wild as I reflected on what an “Eternal summer” would be like. Trees with full foliage. Fresh corn and tomatoes from the garden. Brief summer thunderstorms that roll through rather frequently. The warmth of a soft summer rain followed by a gleaming sun whose reflection on the water stuns us with a heavenly rainbow – this to me is what fills my mind when I think about what it is like to have an “Eternal summer.” It is pleasant, indeed! This is how a spirit of gratitude makes us feel – even if it is in the middle of winter’s harsh, cold blast.
During Bethlehem’s “Harvest-Time,” the master of the field, Boaz, reached out with compassion to a lonely, foreign widow. He brought Ruth under the canopy of his protection. He asked her to come inside, “among” the plenty that was his. And then in an act of unexpected generosity, Boaz showered upon Ruth, not the “leftovers,” but the “plenty” from his personal storehouse.
What an example to you and me, for this is exactly how our Father treats us. His compassion fails not. He protects us under His wings and within the secret place of His dwelling. And then if that isn’t enough, he lavishes upon us, gifts from His storehouse.
My question now is this, “With such an outpouring, how should I respond?”
God could ask you and me for some act of life-long duty that would overwhelm the strongest and most dedicated among us, but this isn’t what He asks for. His desire is a simple one – He asks for my heart. Jean Baptiste Massieu penned these beautiful words: “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” A grateful heart takes time to remember, not just once in awhile or when something big happens, but every moment of every day. Even when it’s something as simple as the raindrops falling and the smell of freshness filling the air.
Like Ruth, may you and I come to our Father, fall on our faces and bow before Him with the words, “I’m so grateful!” As Meister Eckhart, so eloquently penned, “If the only prayer we say is, ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.”
“Gratitude is the homage of the heart, rendered to God for His goodness.”
Nathaniel Parker Willis
“Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.”
Charles E. Jefferson
God’s Unending Mercies
“When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys;
Transported with the view, I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise.
O how shall words with equal warmth
Thy gratitude declare.
That glows within my ravished heart!
But thou canst read it there.
Thy providence my life sustained
And all my wants redressed.
When in the silent womb I lay,
And hung upon the breast.
To all my weak complaints and cries, Thy mercy lent an ear
Ere yet my feeble thoughts had learnt
To form themselves in prayer.
Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
From whom these comforts flowed.
When in the slippery path of youth
With heedless steps I ran.
Thine arm unseen conveyed me safe
And led me up to man…
Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I’ll pursue,
And after death, in distant worlds.
The glorious theme renew…
Through all eternity to thee
A joyful song I’ll raise;
But oh! Eternity’s too short
To utter all thy praise.”
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