Day 3: Gratefulness

You can try to create a relevant life on your own or rely on God to do it for you.

I seek my own glory. I want the recognition of my worth revealed through my intelligence and wisdom. If I have enough recognition, I am somebody. I am relevant. I matter. “So what?” you say. Who doesn’t want to be relevant and live a life that matters? On any given day, most, if not all people, would rather be doing something that matters than something that doesn’t. It’s hard to argue against relevance and I will not. What does matter, however, is the source of your relevance and any level of significance that is achieved. At a micro level, a street gang can be the source of someone’s relevance and significance. Without further examination, we know this is not a good thing. Also, a running club could play the same role in a more positive way. The number of micro sources is infinite. However, at a macro level the number of sources is reduced to two. One source is by default. You are born into it. The other requires making a choice.

The default source leaves it up to me to determine just what and how my life is to unfold. I view the landscape and determine my viability and present my case to the world. This is where career, education, social, community, and other choices are made and tested for their relevance and sustainability. Trial and error is part of this life process. The world gets to vote on your choices and you get to react accordingly. Opportunities present themselves, and you learn over time which ones seem to fit your life. The well-adjusted adult accepts accountability for the choices he makes and knows he can likewise change his mind and go in a more suitable direction if necessary. Regardless of your experience in gaining relevance, the world has the final say. It has the power to reward or punish, and the authority to approve or not. Realized or not, you are measured by your compliance to the world. It is the sole source of both your relevance and your significance.

The constant call for relevance is a daily exercise of finding your place in the world. It can be the source of the good and rewarding life also known as the “American Dream.” It can even be great! You consider yourself blessed. All things considered, your life has been more than you ever expected and possibly even deserved. Of course, not everyone can claim this experience. They didn’t get your DNA, parents, education, or place of birth. Not that it should matter, but it does. Fair or not, this is the human experience. The human experience is also conditional. There is nothing in the worldly life that isn’t conditional. Consider your health, relationships, job, and even financial security. In the world, conditional means that everything can be taken from you with or without your permission. Here today, gone tomorrow. Such are the circumstances of life we deal with day in and day out. This is your evidence of life.

There is a life beyond the default life we all know. This is a life where the world is neither the source of our relevance or our significance. It is a life where relevance is unquestioned, because it is certain. Significance is beyond measure and, like relevance, it will never be taken from you in this world or the one to come. There is an orchestration that is always at work beyond what you can see—you grow to not just rely on it, you anticipate its unfolding before your eyes. Anxiety and worry tempt you, but certainty wins out as you come to rely on the greatest power in the universe. This power is responsible for the results stemming from the opportunities you have been called to embrace. Not unlike others in the world, the circumstances of life are sometimes in your favor and sometimes not. Regardless, with relevance and significance no longer attached to worldly circumstances, your existence is never brought into question. This road you journey is divine. It is the quantum physics of the spiritual realm, hard to explain but real. Living in, but not of, this world is a choice. All are called, not everyone answers. The road may be narrow, but there is room for anyone who says yes to the call of God. This is the road of grace.

There is only one thing certain in life. Not taxes or even death have this level of certainty. I am talking about the love of God. Unconditional and freely given, the love of God was given earthly relevance in the form of grace, the result of Jesus’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. This is the gift that transcends all human conditions and circumstances. Grace is the ultimate game changer and catalyst for the greatest human experience. Grace experienced is gratitude. We experience gratitude in a very personal way. Like the keys to a lock, the key is made for the specific purpose of unlocking the life you were created to live. Grace is that key. The source of the gratitude is the person of Jesus Christ: God’s only begotten son who gave himself for the forgiveness of sin. The reward? Whosoever believes in the saving power of Jesus is reconciled to God now and forever. That is the catalyst for the narrow road. It is also the beginning of a life that has no earthly equal, and a life that must be experienced to believe. Until then, it is a faith journey where life is revealed in a whole new light. The difference is, God is the source of your significance and your relevance. This is not a loss of relevance in the world, but a relevance for which the world yearns. I, too, would rather be involved in something that matters. God’s relevance not only transcends the world, it transforms. From grace to gratitude, the gratefulness expressed in the life of the grateful is at the heart of life lived above the worldly circumstances. This is the freedom every soul seeks, whether realized or not.

Gratefulness is not a concept, but a reality of the believer who has surrendered to God and His perfect will for his life. This is of a divine nature and part and parcel of the faith journey. Justification through faith in Jesus Christ is the result of God’s unconditional love and the source of eternal gratefulness. Two options: one leads to freedom from the world, while the other leads to dependence upon it. Choose wisely.

This future awaits anyone who chooses to live in the shadow of God’s grace. Grace, the bridge from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm, is paved with “gratefulness.” As an emotion, it has earthly reality and meaning. Gratefulness is real. It is understandable. It transcends all human emotion and understanding, and leaves one who is truly grateful in awe of its transforming power. There may be nothing else like it this side of eternity. It is always there and available for anyone who is joined with Christ and is, thus, one in spirit with Him.

Let go and let God. Be free today. Be anxious for nothing. Fear nothing. Trust in Him.*”Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”*




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