Reflections by Dr. Teston
A Fellowship Christian School Blog
I got nothing new
How could I express
All my gratitude?
I could sing these songs
As I often do
But every song must end
And You never do
So I throw up my hands
And praise You again and again
'Cause all that I have is a hallelujah
And I know it's not much
But I've nothing else fit for a King
Except for a heart singing hallelujah
These are lyrics from the song Gratitude by Brandon Lake. I’ve been listening to this frequently as of late, and if you have a few minutes this weekend, I encourage you all to listen to this beautiful song as well. It’s a sweet reminder that from the overflow of gratitude in our hearts, our mouths should sing Hallelujah!
Whether through the worship music I’ve been listening to or my current Bible study, God has been repeatedly impressing upon me the importance of gratitude. Having an “attitude of gratitude” is spoken about easily but rarely with the acknowledgement that accomplishing this requires more than saying "thank you." Living a life of gratitude requires discipline and intentionality. To truly embody the kind of joy and thankfulness that is described in the Bible, a gratitude that rejoices always, gives thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and is overflowing (Colossians 2:6), we must seek to recognize our blessings, outwardly acknowledge them, and give thanks to the true source of all goodness. So how do we do this?
First, I believe we should spend time each day intentionally looking for the blessings and gifts we receive. We schedule salon appointments and sporting events and dinners with friends, so maybe we should schedule time each day to identify our reasons to be grateful. We live in a busy world that is packed with to do lists, but if we take the time to look up from our lists, our lives and our faith will be enriched by recognizing the blessings all around us.
Second, the gratitude spoken about in the Bible is active. We are encouraged to rejoice and sing praises of thankfulness. That may look differently for each of us, but I encourage everyone to find a way to actively show gratitude. Journaling, sharing what you’re grateful for at dinner or during prayer time with family, and writing weekly thank you notes are all ways in which we could start to adopt habits of gratitude.
Finally, we must acknowledge where our blessings come from. Gratitude requires that we look not at the gift, but at the One who gives. Christian author Kristi McLelland says we should glance at ourselves and stare at God. If we stare at Him long enough, at His exceedingly abundant grace and enduring love, we will receive such clarity and perspective in our lives that our hearts will have no other choice than to offer praise that truly honors Him.
I acknowledge that this is not an easy task. We are told that in this world we will have troubles (John 16:33), and yet we are also told that we are to consider these trials pure joy as through the testing of our faith we learn perseverance (James 1:2-3). I am praying for each of you that no matter the circumstance, you are able to seek out and acknowledge your blessings and that your heart is overflowing with gratitude.
With a thankful heart,
Dr. Kathryn M. Teston
Head of School
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Dr. Kathryn M. Teston