Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

We live in a culture with a deficit of gratitude. Studies show gratitude improves lives, yet most people feel others around them lack gratitude, not themselves. As Christians, we should exemplify gratitude more than anyone. This 5-week sermon series unpacks gratitude. This week, Kyle started by using Luke 17’s story of Jesus healing 10 lepers, where only one returns to thank him.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is a feeling, a visceral response to blessings in our lives. The grateful leper’s reaction illustrates this. Our culture says feelings define reality, but Christians know feelings can mislead. Still, feelings are inevitable. Gratitude overflows through emotions and actions, not just checking a box. We lack authentic gratitude if others don’t see it in our lives.

Do you feel grateful, not just think you should be? Reflect on the last hours of your life. Did you see gifts like shelter, family, food? Or did you grumble about irritations? Gratitude must move from head to heart.

Why We Lack Gratitude

The 9 ungrateful lepers weren’t evil, just preoccupied resuming their lives. Leprosy had disrupted everything. Healed, they hurried off, forgetting Jesus’ gift. We easily get distracted by busyness, problems, or entitlement. Our awareness of the gospel directly impacts our gratitude to God. Paul repeatedly tells believers to remember Christ’s work and respond in thankfulness, not drifting into narcissism. Staying conscious of God’s gifts prevents thanklessness.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

The one grateful leper overcame seeing Jesus as an enemy and recognized him as healer and savior. Our view of God affects gratitude. If we see Him as cruel, distant or stingy, we resent Him. Jesus reveals God’s true compassionate nature. As distortions clear, gratitude flows freely. Three practices to try:

  1. Write down thankful moments daily. Name specific gifts, especially relationships.
  2. Consider life without those gifts. More humility increases gratitude.
  3. Take Communion weekly. Remembering Christ’s sacrifice grounds thankfulness.

Gratitude flows from seeing God accurately and focusing less on myself. Intentionally cultivating it prepares our hearts to receive Christ this season. May gratitude overflow in our lives!

Reflecting on Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude has profound implications for followers of Jesus today. Here are some key takeaways:

Gratitude is not just an emotion, but a discipline. The grateful leper responded viscerally, but we must also train ourselves to see God’s gifts consistently. Intentionally counting blessings counteracts negativity bias. This reflects the biblical discipline of remembrance—recalling Christ’s work through communal practices like Communion, testimony, and singing spiritual songs. Scripture exhorts believers repeatedly to remember the gospel. Gratitude flows from recalling truths we are prone to forget.

Gratitude untethers us from false narratives of self-sufficiency. The teaching highlights how self-focus impedes gratitude. When we remember everything good comes from God alone, pride and entitlement wither. We cannot manufacture our lives—even basic necessities like relationships, shelter, and food are gifts. Grateful humility acknowledges our complete dependence. We owe everything to God.

Gratitude precludes anxiety. Human discontent often stems from making comparisons or pursuing misplaced priorities. Gratitude directs us away from cultural messages promoting ingratitude: comparing ourselves to others, thinking we lack, believing we deserve more. It liberates us to rest in God’s provision, not what we lack. We can cease striving when we recognize we already have what matters most through Christ.

Grateful hearts welcome God’s presence. The one leper’s healing occurred by returning to Jesus with thanksgiving. God draws near to humble, thankful spirits who recognize His grace. Pride pushes God away, but gratitude draws Him close. God loves multiplying blessings in those quick to praise whatever He provides. Gratitude fosters an openness to God working in our lives.

Who do you need to thank today? Consider anyone who has blessed you—send a gratitude note to a teacher, mentor, pastor, or friend. Share appreciation with your spouse or kids. Contact someone who changed your life. Heartfelt thanks can make a bigger impact than we imagine.

More literally, who can you thank? The teaching emphasized thanking God in response to His gifts. Take time right now just to pray thanks for five things He has given you. Count specific blessings in key areas like relationships, provision, abilities, spiritual growth. Prayers of thanks release joy and please God’s heart.

Final Thoughts on Gratitude

Gratitude requires constant nurture and direction back to God. We live among cultural tailwinds depleting gratitude—consumerism promoting discontentment, social media encouraging comparisons, cynicism diminishing generosity. This sermon provides a timely reminder for Christ-followers to swim against these currents. Gratitude thrives when oriented toward Christ and shared generously with others. May God find us quick to give thanks in every season!

What do you think? How could you grow in gratitude this holiday season? Are there any barriers or blind spots in your life inhibiting thankfulness? Share your thoughts below!