By Kenneth Samples
A critical component of living a good (happy, satisfying, and meaningful) life is incorporating the concept of gratitude. Being aware of and appreciative for the good things one has been given can serve to transform one’s whole existence. This attitude of gratitude in life is one of the most important teachings from the historic Christian world-and-life view.
Here the Apostle Paul describes the gracious, loving gift of salvation offered by God:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4–5)
And since God has forgiven us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then the only appropriate response on the part of believers is to respond in gratitude. Accordingly, the Apostle Paul admonished the Christians in the Colossian church to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
By temperament I tend to lean toward the pessimist side. So I’m consciously trying to become a more grateful person.
Here are three of many things I’m grateful for:
1. Planet Earth: While watching a recent tribute to Neil Armstrong, I heard one of the Apollo astronauts say that it was only when he was on the Moon that he turned around and genuinely began to appreciate planet Earth. God has created a remarkably beautiful and fine-tuned planet teeming with a variety of life. I’m thankful for my earthly home—a hospitable place for me to live out my temporal destiny.
2. America: As we reflect upon the solemn events of 9/11, I am extremely thankful to be a citizen of the United States. Many people have sacrificed much to preserve the precious freedoms I too often take for granted such as religious liberty and freedom of speech. The Founding Fathers saw these inalienable rights and freedoms as coming from God. I desire to have a greater appreciation of these gifts that continue to enhance my life both as a person and as a citizen.
3. My Family: I’m deeply thankful and appreciative for my family. My parents were part of what we now refer to as America’s greatest generation. My mother and father worked hard to nurture my mind, body, and soul. My wife and children love and care for me and bring great joy and satisfaction to my life. I desire to show them my appreciation by striving to be a better husband and father. Our families have such a deep and enduring influence upon who we become in life.
It’s all too easy to waste time and energy whining and complaining about the challenges of life, but I’m trying to focus on being grateful for the many good gifts God has given me. The most important thing I’m grateful for is that my salvation comes from the Father, is accomplished by the Son, and is applied by the Holy Spirit.
These blessings remind me to live each day with an attitude of gratitude—I hope you will join me in this endeavor.
Kenneth Samples is a scholar at Reasons to Believe, author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference, and a skilled debator on the topics of apologetics and Christian doctrine. Kenneth previous served as Senior Research Consultant for the Christian Research Institute