Daniele, my wife, loves interior design and she is very intentional about making our house our home. In our bedroom she hung a couple of photo frames of the two of us when we were still dating, photos of our wedding day, and photos of the day we celebrated ten years of marriage and renewed our marriage vows. Right in the middle, surrounded by the pictures, she hung a frame with the words, “Begin each day with a Grateful Heart.”
Every day I wake up and look at that particular frame in the center and all of a sudden my day begins with gratitude. I then look at the other frames around it, look at the day ahead, think of our church and its neighbors, and the possibilities God has in store for all us that day … and my heart fills with gratitude. I take some time to read a Bible verse or a passage and immediately I feel nudged by the Spirit to entrust myself to God, and to be thankful.
Well, I must confess not all my days are so filled with gratitude as I wish. Some days are challenging as life demands present themselves. I think of people who for a time in their lives simply cannot be thankful or cannot experience gratitude because of losses and pain they are going through, especially during the holidays.
But I also think of Sam Perrine whom I visited numerous times in different hospitals for the past nine months or so. Especially this week, I am thinking of Sam because he went to be with the Lord this past Monday. In the midst of his pain from cancer, he always asked me about his family and his church FUMC Plano. He was always concerned for other people. And when he talked about himself, he spoke with joy and a smile on his face. When I saw him last week, through his shallow breathing, he asked how I was doing. He then asked me for Orbitz chewing gum from the desk drawer next to his bed. I found the box, gave it to him, he got one out, and then offered me one. I took one out and were both chewing gum as we visited. Sam was a contented person in his heart.
I think we all need reminders to begin the day – or the afternoon, or the evening – with a grateful heart, regardless of what we are going through, especially because God is with us, though it does not feel that way at times.
Psalm 100 compels us to enter God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise. I believe whoever wrote that Psalm is inviting us to look God in the eye and to realize, over and over again, the Lord only is sufficient for us and He is the only one who can give us a heart filled with gratitude.