Cultivating a life with God is the foundation of Whole-Life Generosity. This daily communion is the engine that generates the power in the Christian’s life ‒ including the power to give ourselves selflessly to bless others. Power alone, however, is not enough. A car may have a state-of-the-art engine that produces enough horsepower to launch a space shuttle, but if that power cannot get to the tires, the car is useless.
Similarly, some are inclined to develop a deep, personal connection with God in prayer, worship and solitude. Where we struggle, however, is activating this private faith once we leave the sanctuary. Some have talked about the “Sunday to Monday gap.” The faith we celebrate and affirm at church on Sunday often has little influence in the grind of daily reality we experience Monday through Saturday. For our faith to be real, for it to be truly meaningful, it must be alive in the hustle and bustle of the world. What is the point of having a car that cannot leave the garage? What is the point of having a faith that cannot leave the church?
That’s the role of gratitude. It activates our life with God in the world and bridges Sunday’s worship with Monday’s work. Gratitude is the transmission that connects the engine to the tires. Ann Voskamp says, “Giving thanks … is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see.”
Her point is important. Unlike our time in the sanctuary, it is all too easy to lose sight of God’s presence when we are engaged in the messy, often mundane realities of the world. Practicing gratitude consistently ‒ even for the messy and mundane things of life ‒ is how we stay connected to God and invite His power and presence into everything we do. In the process, it changes the way we see things. Gratitude gives us the eyes to recognize God’s presence and grace in the most unusual and unexpected places.
This is why the Apostle Paul calls us to give thanks in “whatever you do, in word and deed.” Without practicing gratitude we will lose sight of God, and our faith will become a sacred but isolated part of our life. It won’t overflow into the real world we inhabit.
Reflect: In order to practice thankfulness more consistently throughout your week, consider using a simple reminder to give God thanks. For example, every time you look at a clock or pass through a doorway ‒ offer a silent prayer of thanksgiving. Others find keeping a thanksgiving journal transformative. Each day think of three things you are thankful for. Offer this time as a prayer to God.
(Excerpt from Whole-Life Generosity Devotional, used with permission from GenerousChurch).