Monday, June 18th, 2018
I’ve always wanted to be the best at something, to be able to say, “I’m the best there is at. . . ,” and fill in the blank. Something. But I have to admit that I can’t think of one legitimate claim I could make about being the best.
We all know some people who seem to have a genius for one thing or another. There are your computer geeks—people who know computers inside and out and can solve whatever problem you’re having. Oh, those are wonderful people. I marvel at their genius for computers. Computer technology is far over my head and leaves me bewildered, but their knowledge and expertise are awesome!
Then there are those who are great cooks. I can think of two or three people whose table I always love to put my feet under because, no matter what they cook, it is better than anything else you’ve ever eaten. Everything is delicious! But not me. Even in former days when I tried to be a good cook, I ended up with many disasters.
Do you know some “green thumb” people? They can bring any plant back to life, make any garden bloom, and have a seemingly magical touch with growing things. They have a genius for gardens.
How about a genius at organization? As hard as I try, I cannot keep my desk and office organized like it should be. Somehow, it always gets ahead of me. But there are those who, even in the midst of chaos, are organized and together. They are geniuses at organization.
Can you identify anything at which you are a genius? Even if you’re not the smartest, fastest, or most educated or experienced person around and can’t name one skill at which you are the best, I want to tell you today that you can be a genius in one area if you want to—you can be a genius at gratitude! This is what I want to talk about: How we can have a genius for gratitude.
The Bible says we are to give thanks in everything and for everything. When you and I learn to do that on a daily basis, we will have a genius for gratitude. Believe me, others will notice this genius in you, though they may not be able to identify it by name. A person who is continually and consistently grateful and thankful stands out in any crowd. It will do more for your testimony for Jesus Christ than just about anything else you can name.
However, we have to learn how to acquire this skill of being a genius at gratitude.
Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
Becoming a genius at gratitude—that’s my challenge for us. And I definitely mean “us” because this is an area in my own life that needs improvement. In the last couple of years, I’ve been consciously trying to cultivate a genius for gratitude because I want to be thankful for all my many, many blessings. I also want to grow in gratitude because being thankful is a major stress buster! I’m not kidding. One of the best things you can do to reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure, and lengthen your life is to practice thankfulness.
Notice I said, “practice thankfulness.” It’s really easy to get caught up in complaining because that’s what we hear around us quite often. Don’t you hear a good bit of griping and complaining where you work? You might have caught that disease without realizing it, so you need to practice thankfulness.
Here are some suggestions to help you do that:
- Put a sign on your desk, refrigerator, or mirror that says, “Be a genius at gratitude today,” or “In everything be thankful.” I think we need simple reminders. They sure won’t hurt.
- Put on thankfulness each morning before you leave home. Colossians 3 gives us a list of garments that we should put on each day as God’s chosen people. At the end of this list we read, “And be thankful.” While you’re buttoning your shirt or putting on your shoes, make it a daily ritual to say, “I’m also putting on thankfulness to wear all day today.”
If you will start to do that each morning, you’ll find that throughout the day, when you might start to complain or go into negative-mode, the Holy Spirit will bring that prayer back to your mind, and his quiet voice will whisper in your ear, “Be thankful.” You’ll be amazed at how much more sensitive you will become to your tendency to focus on the negative instead of being thankful for the positive. Before you know it, you’re going to develop a genius for gratitude!
Wednesday, June 20th, 2018
I’m encouraging all of us to work at developing a genius for gratitude in our daily lives. In writing to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul said that because they had received Christ Jesus as Lord, they should overflow with thankfulness.
My guess is that some of you are thinking that sounds like a Pollyanna type phrase—overflowing with thankfulness. I mean, come on, we live in the real world and nobody can overflow with thankfulness all the time, right? Maybe you’re thinking that overflowing with thankfulness is a bit much. Perhaps it’s just a figure of speech to catch our attention.
However, the Bible keeps insisting that thankfulness is to be consistent and abundant in our lives as believers. Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we’re told to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Seems to me we have to practice thankfulness—find ways to help us develop a genius for gratitude. If you want to play the piano, you have to practice. If you want to dunk a basketball, you have to practice. Likewise, if you want to be a genius at gratitude, I think you have to practice that, too. I have given you two suggestions for practicing gratitude, and here are two more:
- Do the thankful alphabet. Start with A and go through Z, naming something starting with each letter for which you are thankful. You can have some fun with this! It’s a great game to play in the car with your kids, and it’s a wonderful way to pull yourself out of the doldrums when you’re having a bad day!
- Make every Tuesday a “Thankful Tuesday.” Or if you prefer, every Thursday a “Thankful Thursday!”
How do you make a “Thankful Tuesday” or “Thankful Thursday”? Make it a point on those days to list things and people for which you are grateful, things and people you might not normally think about but they enrich your life. How about sitting around the breakfast or dinner table and having everyone share things or people for which they are thankful? This sure is a good way to teach children a genius for gratitude.