Do I have a grateful heart?

gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! It is that day set aside for us to gather as families, create good memories, remember those good times of the past, eat good food, and express our thanks for the people and blessings in our lives. It is a day also to ask ourselves the question, “Do I have a grateful heart?”

Sure, it is easy to stop and count our blessings. It is easy to be thankful. However, being thankful isn’t enough. I’m reminded of a quote:

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”                                                                                 – Henri Frederic Amiel

As Amiel states, thankfulness is good, but it can be silent. That silent, inner appreciation we often express is good, but it is only the start. Having gratitude, or a grateful heart, is more than words… it is a series of acts… a life of action… a life of serving… a life of loving others.

So, do I have a grateful heart? To answer that question, I think we all need to take an honest look at what motivates us. I would argue that if a person is motivated by what they can gain, what the world owes them, by their net worth, or by their status, position, or power, then that person does not have a grateful heart.

On the other hand, a life that can be seen expressing gratitude through their actions toward others, is a life that exhibits a grateful heart. A grateful heart…

  • Serves those that could never pay them back
  • Thinks of others before self
  • Seeks ways to add value or to make life better for others
  • Expresses the abundance of a grateful heart by giving
  • Freely gives of their time
  • Can pause from their busy life to enjoy the beauty of the world we’ve been given
  • Is saddened by injustice, but is motivated by it to stand up for others
  • Treats others with respect… all the time
  • Lifts others with a continuously outreached hand
  • Can laugh at themselves
  • Is not distracted by minor irritations, but is driven to achieve good in every circumstance
  • Recognizes that good friends are more valuable than gold
  • Cherishes good memories of loved ones now gone
  • Recognizes that all good things come from a God that loves us

So, tomorrow, as you gather with friends and family to enjoy this day set aside to express our thanks, let’s remember that the output of that thanks should be a life that freely exhibits gratitude. Our thankful hearts should give rise to our grateful hearts.

And, as you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the day, pause to etch it into your memory. For there is a day coming when you would give anything to have it back… just one more time.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”                                                                 – Robert Brault

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Enjoy it and let it spawn a grateful heart in each of us.

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