An Attitude of Gratitude
“You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.” Psalm 40.5
We are in a month that is typically associated with giving thanks and recalling how blessed we are. My family is especially grateful for the great strides that medical science has made. God’s wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us have extended our life and breath. At the same time, we have said farewell to those whose baptismal journey has come to an end; they have arrived at their life’s goal – eternity with God.
As we listen to the news about children being shot in schools, massive numbers of dislocated people seeking refuge, and the increasing number of homeless people roaming the streets of Pittsburgh, we may become discouraged and despairing. Somewhere, I learned that when the negative thoughts start to mount up to the point you feel like you are being buried, it can be helpful to take a piece of paper and write down all the things for which you are grateful. Yes, even when you are not feeling especially thankful for anything.
Whenever I have done this little exercise, my list runs down the page and then down the next page. As I look over that list, my attitude of gratitude grows and drowns out the negative thoughts. Of course, we cannot forget the seriousness of lives cut short or the tremendous struggle it is to be dislocated from your home, whether that be internationally or locally. However, we must never forget the wondrous deeds God has done in our lives and God’s thoughts toward us. They have been so many that we could not proclaim and tell of them.
In some worship circles we might hear this exchange:
God is good all the time; all the time God is good.
Now, that is an attitude of gratitude. I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on how good God has been to our PLUM congregations. Our congregations are experiencing growth in membership, in giving, in service and outreach, and in spirit. Two individuals are attending seminary training and two other individuals are engaged in missionary work abroad. God has provided us with creative solutions to problems that might have defeated us in the past, including space-sharing, sharing staff (pastors, secretaries, and musicians) and imaginative mission activities. New leadership has arisen among us and “old” leadership has been renewed.
As we move through this month, no matter what your circumstances, make an inventory of those things for which you are grateful. You will find yourself saying to yourself - and perhaps to others: You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.
Let your attitude of gratitude be known this November 2015!
+ Pastor Paul Koch
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773