The Power of Gratitude Could Change The World
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything.” Thomas Merton
What does it look like to express gratitude in our lives?
How does bestowing gratitude impact the lives of those around us?
In the parable of the ten lepers, we learn that Jesus heals ten men with leprosy, however only one of them returns to give Him thanks. This man was deeply moved by what Jesus had done for him that he return to show his gratitude. Not only did Jesus heal the lepers, He showed compassion and made them feel loved. By cleansing the lepers, He gave them a place to belong, welcoming them back into a society that had outcast them. Jesus gave them a new beginning and hope for a better life.
“Were not all ten lepers cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God other than this foreigner?” (Luke17:17-18)
In this parable we not only see the hope that Jesus gave to these lepers, we see that Jesus treasures gratitude, asking where the other nine were, for only one leper returned to praise God for healing him.
Gratitude in both our personal and professional lives is essential. As we learn from this parable, it allows us to feel a sense of belonging. It can also foster meaning at work where employees feel appreciated and valued. When we feel appreciated, we tend to be more engaged and perform better at work which creates an environment for us to reach our full potential. In our personal and everyday lives, gratitude invites us to feel blessed by others, for “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Thomas Chalmers)
Eric Mosley describes the effect of gratitude as “A ripple of acknowledgment and appreciation that surges forward, transforming and inspiring us, and improving business outcomes. The more gratitude going around, the more human connections are being made, and the more collaboration, engagement, and innovation across the organization. Moreover, when recognition is given frequently throughout the year, the impact of that positive reinforcement is even greater.” (Forbes).
What kind of a crazy, wonderful world would it be if we all aspired to live this way in both our personal and professional lives. Maybe we would see a glimmer of humanity striving to be a kinder, more humane race than the world we currently live in. What would the ripple effect of gratitude look like if we began to show appreciation to our family and friends, people in our communities, and the stranger on the street? What if you and I behaved in such a way that demonstrates the heart of the good Samaritan to everyone we meet? The transformation of this world could look like a piece of heaven on earth. If only.
Dan Heath, the author of The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, invites us to write gratitude letters to the people who have made a significant impact in our lives.
What if we all wrote a letter this Thanksgiving to someone that really touched our lives in such a powerful way that it transformed our heart and the direction of our life? What if that encounter made us more vulnerable and authentic? What if it made us a better person?
Maybe there is someone in your life who needs to hear the positive difference they made in your life. Maybe they were a good role model. They helped you get your life back on track. They showed you what it was like to forgive others so that you could heal and live free from the bondage of unforgiveness. They were the friend you needed who stepped up to help and support you when you were at your lowest and shinned the love of Jesus that you would not have otherwise known.
Take this moment to say “Thank you” to the people in your life that have demonstrated the true meaning of grace. Write a letter that says, “You made me a better person.”
Invite someone out, visit them in the hospital, or spend time volunteering.
For me, that demonstration of impact was shown clearly by a friend I had met in childhood. Years later, as a young adult, I received a phone call while I was at work. This friend had tracked me down after all those years. When I asked her why, she said I had been a significant influence in her life. This encounter humbled me. I had never realized how much our friendship had meant to her until that day.
Let the peace of the Messiah also rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body, and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
In what ways are you demonstrating Christ’s love to those around you?
How will you show gratitude to someone in your life today?
it’s sharing a meal with a friend, bringing a meal to someone who is ill, sending a card simply to say “I am thinking of you,” giving a compliment, or even a smile can convey a message of caring and make someone's day better.
"Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind." Lionel Hampton