Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others. ~ Os Guinness
Spiritual gifts, love, peace, money, relationships, dogs, riding a road bike on a Fall morning, a great sermon, a new song by Cory Asbury, a nice dinner, and a great hamburger – all good and meaningful things – begin, and are kept righteous, by gratitude.
Gratitude becomes our spiritual taste buds. Without it, everything else in life becomes sour or dour.
No better Psalm to learn gratitude than Psalm 111:
Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart (verse 1, ESV).
This Psalm begins with the commitment, “I will give thanks!” The Apostle Paul reflects this commitment in Philippians 4:4 with, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I will say, rejoice.” And in James 1:2, “Count it all joy, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
Make this commitment right now: I will give thanks to the Lord.
If you are struggling, Psalm 111 gives examples of gratitude.
An important note: Psalm 111 was written after the Israelites returned from Babylonian captivity to a shattered and destroyed Jerusalem. The emphasis in verses 2 through 6 is the testimony of God’s past wondrous deeds.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them (verse 2).
He has caused His wondrous deeds to be remembered (verse 4).
He provides food for those who fear Him (verse 5).
He has shown His people the power of His works (verse 6).
Psalm 111 ends with two specifics that will increase gratitude.
First, the word of God. All His precepts are trustworthy (verse 7).
Anger takes away perspective. During trials, we miss what God has done in the past, a blessing happening right now that could counter the frustration or a prophetic and Biblical statement of our future.
Second, obey the word of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (verse 10).
Count the trials in your life. How many of them began with your bad decision? Don’t get upset at God with the results of your poor judgment. Instead, praise His grace and mercy and how He is now working to bring freedom and peace to you.
Learning the lessons of Psalm 111 will mean that you will live a life with this testimony:
His praise endures forever (verse 10)!
Today, tomorrow, and every day say, “I will give thanks to the Lord!”