There's a Good Reason for Gratitude

Luisa Collopy

Contributing Writer
Published Jun 15, 2023
There's a Good Reason for Gratitude

As if we are suckers for punishment, we begin to replace gratitude with disappointment, resentment, and anger, causing us to experience an even more undesirable life. 

After we toured the senior living home, the director gave us a thank-you-for-visiting book. It was called The Wisdom of Gratitude, created and published by the facility. The flyleaf reads: “With The Wisdom of Gratitude, we invite [the residents] to access their enormous capacity for thankfulness and see their lives grow richer and more fulfilling in the process." We felt grateful for the warm welcome and were optimistic about what we saw. But the hard question remained: "Will Dad be grateful for us helping him find this place, knowing that he does not have to be by himself anymore and will receive diligent care?"

The Israelites

As I was thinking about the attitude of gratitude, God brought to my mind the story of the Israelites and their flight from Egypt. God's promised deliverance was a show of great power and might through various plagues to convince Pharaoh to let His people go (Exodus 7:14-12:32), notably, the chase that led to the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground. With "the waters being a wall to [the Israelites] on their right hand and on their left," it was, no doubt, a remarkable sight (Exodus 14:29).

Out of Egypt for only a month or two, and having bitter water in the wilderness of Shur, God's people started the grumble. "What shall we drink?" they asked Moses (Exodus 15:24). In the wilderness of sin, it was about food. "Would that we have died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger" (Exodus 16:2-3).

Writing for The Epoch Times, Tatiana Dennings said, “If our gratitude level is low, we may take things for granted and lack appreciation when life is going well. Then, when life hits a rocky patch, we may focus on the problem and forget about the good things." Yes, the Israelites forgot the signs and wonders God did to free them!  It only took a lack of water and lack of meat in their diet to remember what they used to enjoy in Egypt, even though they were slaves suffering from their hard taskmasters and crying out for deliverance. They were suffering from a lack of gratitude!

The Barometer of Joy

Gratitude is a barometer of one's fullness of joy. When the needle tips towards positive emotions, good experiences, and healthy relationships, it is easy to express gratitude in many ways.  We can comfortably sit around the table with people, sharing our lives with one another. We can keep growing our community as we welcome more people to it. On the other hand, when the needle tips towards negativity, we know that stress is not too far away. We start pushing people away, always fighting to control circumstances. Before we know it, we are empty grumblers, having difficulties in overcoming life's challenges and navigating our problems.

How much time do we really spend focusing on grumbling about our lack? A lot! We like to gripe about our limited possessions, our failing health, and our unmet expectations, so much so that grumbling becomes our favorite pastime. As if we are suckers for punishment, we begin to replace gratitude with disappointment, resentment, and anger, causing us to experience an even more undesirable life. 

The Reality

I wish I could tell you that Dad's years at the senior living home were great years. He stopped himself from feeling grateful. After hanging out with the staff at the reception and going to the dining room for his meals most days, he willfully changed his mind. "I don't need new friends," he told us. He went back to living like a recluse, usually angry and verbally abusive to the staff. He had to move.

Yes, life can be challenging. As we look around today, everything appears to be falling apart, making it easier not to think about gratitude. There seems to be nothing to be thankful for. But we cannot lose hope either, right? 

It is good for us to cultivate gratitude every day by finding the little gems in simple, everyday pleasures instead of always reaching for something new in the hope that the next best thing will satisfy us. Or, we must be aware of not allowing the present to unfold its beautiful offering because we are constantly looking back to the "good old times." As the apostle Paul said to the Philippians, "For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need" (4:11-12). We need to focus on what we have today instead of what we lack and what we had in the past.

The Hope

Reciting Psalm 95:1-3, is one way to show our gratitude: “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” The right perspective is to appreciate life and thank God each day, no matter what circumstance you are in!


List some of the ways you show gratitude to God and others. Take a few moments to brainstorm additional ways to expand your gratitude.

Application Tip

Send print or digital “Thank You” cards to 10 people, and let each one know why you are thankful.

Conversation with God

Lord, help me to live a life of gratitude by learning to count my blessings!

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat

Luisa Collopy is an author, speaker and a women’s Bible study teacher. She also produces Mula sa Puso (From the Heart) in Tagalog (her heart language), released on FEBC Philippines stations. Luisa loves spending time with her family over meals and karaoke!