In this week’s Monday Minute, Claudia shares with us how we can start the process of growing together in gratefulness in one small but significant way.
Growing Together in Gratefulness
by Claudia Duff
This one-word dictates millions and millions of drivers every single day. It doesn’t matter what language it is in if you recognize the sign you stop. It’s just like muscle memory. You don’t think about it you just do it. How often have you walked into Walmart and flashed your military i.d. card at the greeter? Routines are what separates our lives from the chaos around us.
My one word has been that for me, a routine that separates my life from the chaos that surrounds me. This word will change me and shape me in big and small ways. Not because of the word itself, but rather because the Word of God will give life to that word. I will see it realized in my daily walk throughout this year.
Ponder this. What would be your one word for this year? Have you sought out a word?
“Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship,
with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV
My husband and I purchased our first home at the tender age of 54 and 53. It seems like we have been dreaming of buying a home our entire married lives. It made sense to us, but we are kind of like Leo the Late Bloomer. Meaning we just never pursued the process of buying a home.
If I am honest, we were both a bit scared. It’s not like buying a car or a couch. You can move those things, but a house is for keeps. When we sat down to sign the papers, we both got a bit misty. Our dream of owning a home was happening right before our eyes and we needed to take a moment to take it all in. Wow! We both immediately felt such a wave of gratefulness for the Lord’s gift of crushing our fear with faith.
Fear is an evil taskmaster, requiring everything and giving nothing in return. Fear is a faith crusher.
In that moment, God flipped the script of our hearts and faith crushed fear. I get it, faith is something we say we have but the reality is until it starts doing something it’s not quite faith is it?
Ponder this. When has your faith felt nonexistent? What did you do about it?
“What good is it, my brothers,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?”
James 2:14 ESV
A saving faith is a saint’s superpower. Even the devil believes Jesus is LORD and we all know he ain’t saved. Growing up we moved a lot. We were constantly being evicted or my mom ran out of money. It was a scary place to live, not knowing where I would lay my head at night. So, my fear of not having a home of my own ran pretty deep. And this is where my one word, grateful, begins to crush my fear. I am so incredibly grateful that the God of the universe knows my end from my beginning. He already knew that 19 December 2019 was coming. He knew that on that day I would sit with my beloved and purchase our forever home (as forever as it can be when you are associated with the military).
Knowing the fear that would hinder me, God already had a home in a city picked out just for me. The home we purchased had sat vacant for six months. It was a quick sale process exactly five weeks from our first peek to closing. Not a lot of haggling and it all felt like a dream. I am grateful for a good and gracious God that knows the failings of my heart and the fear that crushes my faith and he made provision for all of it. Having a grateful heart is not a given, you gotta work at it, daily. In small and big ways. One of my ways is I go to church. I know that sounds simple, but it’s important. This year our theme at Planting Roots is ‘Growing Together’ and we need to actually be together to grow together.
Ponder this. In what ways big and small can you begin to grow together with other believers?
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another,
and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
The last Sunday in December our pastor challenged us to attend every Sunday service in 2020. Not an easy challenge. There are times when getting dressed and leaving my home is overwhelming to me, but I need to go to church anyway. I need someone to say, “Good morning! Welcome to church! I am so glad you are here!” And you need to hear those words as well. We are stronger together. Something about standing in the presence of a holy God with other like-minded believers changes you.
So, start small in your building of a grateful heart, go to church. And when you get there, participate in the service. Sing the songs, pray the prayers, give in the offering, share the peace of Christ. Do all of it because it is a gift that we can worship freely and proclaim the name of Jesus and he will help you begin growing together in gratefulness.
Read: Hebrews 10:24-25 in several translations.
Reflect: How can you grow together with someone around you? Think about family, friends, or church members.
Respond: What areas of your life do you need encouragement to be brave? How can you start being brave today?
Lord, I am grateful for your presence in my life. Help me to stop and submit my heart to yours. Thank you for leading me into your truth as I learn to spend time with you in the presence of like-minded believers. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
For more on how God has been growing a grateful heart in Claudia, check out her post, Grateful for God’s Faithfulness.