Maintain an Appreciative Attitude
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH? “In connection with everything give thanks.”—1 Thessalonians 5:18.
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE? We are surrounded by people who are haughty and unthankful, attitudes that can rub off on us. (2 Timothy 3:1, 2) In addition, we may feel compelled to cram more and more activities into our already hectic lives. We could become so burdened by problems or engrossed in pursuing our own interests that we do not have time to appreciate what we already have or to express appreciation for what others do for us.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Make time to meditate on the good things you now enjoy. Granted, you may feel overwhelmed by problems. But consider the example of King David. He at times felt crushed, his heart numbed by trials. Even so, he prayed to God: “I have meditated on all your activity; I willingly kept myself concerned with the work of your own hands.” (Psalm 143:3-5) Despite his trials, David maintained an appreciative attitude and remained content.
Think about what others have done to help you, and express appreciation for their efforts. Jesus set an outstanding example in this regard. For instance, when his friend Mary poured expensive oil on his head and feet, some asked: “Why has this waste of the perfumed oil taken place?” * Those critics felt that the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus replied: “Let her alone. Why do you try to make trouble for her?” Then he added: “She did what she could.” (Mark 14:3-8; John 12:3) Rather than focus on what Mary did not do, Jesus expressed appreciation for what she did do.
Some appreciate the family, friends, or other blessings they have only after those are lost. You can avoid that sad outcome by reflecting on the good things you now enjoy! Why not make a mental or a written list of the things for which you are grateful?
Since “every good gift” originally comes from God, we do well to express our thankfulness to him in prayer. (James 1:17) Regularly doing so can help us maintain an appreciative spirit and cultivate contentment.—Philippians 4:6, 7.
^ par. 6 In the first century, pouring oil on a guest’s head was a gesture of hospitality; pouring oil on the feet was an act of humility.
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Do you express appreciation for what others do for you?