The Gratitude Attitude
Lives life worshipfully
Exodus 15.1-12, 21b; [Psalm 30]
“Sing to the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously”
Sally and Brian would tell anyone who listened what a wonderful, selfless, heroic guy Gavin was – they could go on for quite some time about his virtues, and yet he’d only crossed their paths for a frantic half hour. Sally and Brian had innocently gone swimming in what seemed like a nice calm spot off Papamoa beach which was being pounded by storm driven surf – they’d unknowingly entered a current, a rip, that carried them quickly out through the waves way beyond their depth. Gavin had bravely plunged into the raging sea to rescue her as she was carried back along the beach in the circular sweep of the current.
Brian and Sally said that Gavin deserved to be recognised and rewarded and lauded as an everyday Kiwi hero. Sally organised all who’d witnessed Gavin’s selfless courage to write to the Humane Society commending his bravery, which ultimately resulted in an award. An Sally would never cease to let people know what a special person Gavin is.
Her thankfulness lead to heartfelt praise and honour for her rescuer.
In our experience It’s very easy to laud the positive qualities of a person who has helped us, done something special for us. We want everyone to know that they deserve recognition and honour.
And yet some mornings I get up tired and slow, and worship, personal and communal, seems like a big ask. It seems hard to find the words that matter, to find the motivation to lift my heart, my mind and my voice to salute and honour my eternal Rescuer. You ever had that problem?
What does God say? The first extended song of praise recorded in the Bible comes right after a dramatic scene involving the rescue of God’s oppressed people and the destruction of their enemies; they’ve seen a fearsome multitude of horse-drawn chariots and cavalry swept aside by terrifying wall of water that had divided just to allow God’s people to pass. Moses lifts his voice in a glorious song of praise to God for which his sister provides the refrain…sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously
the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea.
Moses starts with he and his people are; newly rescued and amazed and thankful to a God who would so spectacularly intervene for them. Then he begins to describe what that tells him about God. God is their strength and song, He is their saviour, He is a man of war and is, by definition and without peer, the LORD. Then he begins to perceive the wonder, the majesty, the holiness and awesome power of God; and then as he sees that being brought to bear for the humble children of Israel, that God is faithful in love and confident in guidance; a God who has made this rabble His own people by whom He has demonstrated His great authority to men and angels both.
This is the first of many songs of a similar kind that include Psalms 18, 30, 59, 106, 118, 140 and more where Israel continues to learn about who God is from worshipping Him for His mighty deeds and even His personal interventions on their behalf.
We see a pattern in which gratitude leads to praise, which leads to acknowledgement of God’s higher attributes, which leads to courageous obedience and service.
So what should you do? First, you need to engage with God on a personal level – through the astonishing gift of life in the death and rising of Jesus His Son.
Second, you need to consider what story God is writing in your life. What has He done for you? How has He rescued you, from what did He rescue you, to what did He rescue you? How has God acted to direct and encourage you in your walk through this life of following His Son? What blessings have you encountered on the way? What challenges has He helped you surmount? What have you seen God doing for people you love and care for?
Third, is logically, to rehearse all those wonderful stories of God’s work in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Remind yourself what He did.
Fourth, reflect on what that shows you about how God works, who He is, what His nature is. Then go on and celebrate those qualities that you are discovering in life lessons from the All-Wise God. In fact it is a great idea to write these things into a journal and be able to refer to them when you’re having one of those blah days when God seems so far away and you can’t remember any reasons why you should be worshipping Him.
Fifth, be aware that once you start worshipping God for what He’s done and who He is, you begin to become aware of what He wants in the world into which He has placed us. This is your call to obedience to His plan for your life – arguably to join in the greatest adventure of your life – but more about that near the end of this series.
What difference would it make? If we all start doing this our worship times in church and in our own private places of devotion will be charged with a sense of His life-changing power and presence. A church where while the worship is not exactly electric (yet) it is electrifying and inspiring. Our church will become one known for the liveliness and the reality of it’s trust in the Living God and where you might meet His Son; further it will be a church willingly known for it’s selfless service of the ordinary people and it’s confident witness to the work of an unseen, but very present God.