by Herbert W. Eustace
Of all the virtues, can there be found one more prolific of quiet, peaceful happiness, more overflowing with love and kindness, than gratitude? This subject has been frequently in my thought.
When on vacation, one Sunday evening it was my privilege to hear a learned bishop of the Episcopal Church deliver a sermon. In his address he stated that in his old parish, in one of the large eastern cities, a parish that contained some of the best Christian workers he had ever known, on the reading desks in the church were the old prayer-books that had been there for over a century. They were not then being used, more modern ones having replaced them.
One day the thought came to him to look over these old books, and see what prayers to God had been most frequently used. First he turned to the prayers for help for the sick, for the safety of those at sea, and for the many other blessings mortals so urgently desire. All these prayers were black with finger-marks, showing how much they had been used.
He then turned to the prayers of thanksgiving to God, and he was amazed to find that these prayers of deep gratitude were as clean as any pages in the book, showing how little they had been used. There was every evidence to show how constantly they had prayed to God for what they desired, but there was no evidence to show that they had expressed any gratitude for the blessings received.
Are we truly grateful for all the blessings that infinite Love is showering on us? Are we not too often like the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, only one of whom came back to render thanks? Out of ten blessings, do we render thanks for even one? How many times do we allow error to whisper to us, when some prayer is answered, that it just happened that way, or that we should have gotten well anyway. We are content that we have what we wanted, or that we are well. Our prayer of thanksgiving is not made and we have robbed God of what rightfully belongs to Him, a grateful heart. And we have furthermore denied the Bible, for it tells us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.”
Dear friends, let us always be ready to acknowledge our heavenly Father’s love and care, not in one way only, but in every way. Let us turn to Him alone with our psalm of thanksgiving for everything that comes into our lives. With St. Paul let us rejoice at infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ’s sake. Remember “this self-same God is our Helper, He has mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers.” (Un.) If we do this we will learn that the seeming distresses are angels entertained unawares, and that Love has been with us all the time.
What a glorious thought this is, that we live in Love! Could we possibly ask for more? Can we express our gratitude in anything less than earnest, consecrated lives? Consecrated to God, striving to have the same Mind in us that was also in Christ Jesus, consecrated to the steadfast purpose of proving that God’s kingdom has indeed come on earth, as in heaven.