Cultivating Gratitude

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There is a plethora of reasons to be grateful. Multiple studies are out today with clear evidence of the many benefits that expressing gratitude plays a positive role in physical, mental, emotional, and of course spiritual health and well-being. You can’t go far in reading the Bible without finding a command, promise, or example of people expressing gratitude to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) — 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Psalm 100:4 (ESV) — 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 116:12 (ESV) — 12 What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?

Facing undeniable prompts to be grateful, most people find it very difficult and near impossible to move in the direction of gratitude. Why is that? And how can we move from the state of being an ingrate? I know that sounds harsh, but without gratitude that’s exactly what we are. Since nobody likes to be around such a person, evident by the fact that those who are ingrates don’t particularly like being around themselves!


Like the farmer who prepares for a harvest through stages of breaking the ground, planting the seed, caring for the tender plants through watering and weeding, then with joy brings in the harvest, so cultivating our way to gratitude takes on a similar look.

It’s time to break up the ground.

Jeremiah 4:3 (ESV) — 3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Too often we try to “be grateful” but we are harboring resentment or even bitterness for our not having all that we’d like to have. There’s an attitude of “self-entitlement” in all of us which causes us to not be satisfied with what we have and to feel we are short-changed in life, so rather than being filled with gratitude we express disappointment and sometimes an outrage of complaining. When we focus on our discontentment, we need to break up the fallow ground that is grown over with complaining and ill feelings before we can see that fruit of righteous bringing forth gratitude to God. Before you pass over this point and think it doesn’t apply to you, let’s do some self-inspection to test how “fallow” your ground is. Are you on “ready” to express gratitude for the least little thing to God and those with whom you come in contact? Over the past two days, have you passed by opportunities to express gratitude when you should have? Passing by the opportunity can become habit forming and that will lead to hard and fallow ground that will not produce gratitude no matter how hard you try.

As a farmer prepares the ground by breaking up the hardness with a plow and a disc, he also prepares the ground with a mixture of nutrients and minerals so as to give the plants a chance to sprout, grow, and bear fruit. Likewise, in order to be grateful, we need to plant the seeds of gratitude in ground that is prepared with the right additive, namely peace.

James 3:18 (ESV) — 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Just like the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace, so gratitude needs the special nutrient of peace in order to flourish. We are called to be peacemakers and to portray peace because we have received peace with God by our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (ESV) — 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Focusing on the blessing of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has reconciled us to God, is something that should boost our gratitude planting to a quick and fruitful harvest.

To enjoy the harvest of gratitude, we need to break up the hard ground of complaining and murmuring then we need to give our ground the proper nutrient of peace and there is no better peace upon which to meditate than the peace we have with God, having been brought together with Him in peace because the Lord Jesus Christ has made it possible. Don’t stop there. There needs to be the planting of gratitude seeds as in the discipline of gratitude which means you read about gratitude, think about gratitude, practice being grateful, setting goals of gratitude or whatever it takes to get gratitude into your system.

Even though the planting of gratitude will give you a sense of gratitude, you have not experienced the harvest yet, but it will come. Often God allows us to go through testing so that we experience something in our lives for which it is hard to be grateful. If we have worked on breaking up the fallow ground through repenting of our old ways, if we have applied the nutrient of peace, and if we have planted the seeds of gratitude then as we are tested, with the aid and power of the Holy Spirit, we are often blessed with gratitude and feel as if we were a spectator of gratitude flowing from our mouths.

It’s the harvest! With the first fruits comes the expectation of more and with the first signs of gratitude comes the expectation of more, especially when you begin to experience gratitude along with other benefits. One of which is the way people will tend to want to be with you. Think about it. With whom would you rather be – an ingrate who complains or with a person with gratitude blessing God and other people with words of thanksgiving? The answer is simple.

Before you pass it off as give me ten reasons why you can’t be a person of gratitude, please re-read this article and think about cultivating gratitude. Becoming a person of gratitude takes time and effort, but it begins when you take the first step by deciding that this is where you need to be. Don’t put it off-  begin today.  The harvest of gratitude and all the benefits await you.


Bob Brubaker, Pastor

Christ Community Presbyterian Church

Clearwater, FL







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