Posted: Feb 11

Gratitude & Greatness

By Guest Blogger

thomasmerton---copy.jpgWhen I want a challenging perspective on some element of Christian living, I often look to Thomas Merton.  Here’s how he defines gratitude:

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.”

I readily acknowledge that everything was given to me: my body, my mind, my family, my upbringing, my heritage, my gender, my ethnicity, my very life.

I think there’s more here though; not just a reminder to be grateful at all times. 

Since the Love of God is in everything He has given me, and He has given me everything, then I always have something to contribute to God’s kingdom.  That then makes my life, as it is this very moment, today, (not at some point in the future when I've gained more expertise and knowledge, or when I’m earning more money), full of small and meaningful ways for me to be a blessing to the world around me. 

What a relief to know that I don’t have to say, pledge at least 77% of my yearly earnings, or bake cookies for the entire congregation every Sunday, or sponsor and prepare all the meals for Loaves & Fishes for the next 5 years, or some other paralyzing lofty ambition. In order to be a good steward of my gifts and an active member of this community I just need to faithfully try to say yes to the numerous opportunities I get each day, to make small and perhaps unnoticed contributions to God’s kingdom.  Like smiling at you when we meet at the altar.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a particularly inclusive understanding of greatness. 

He pointed out that “not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service... You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”  We are a church overflowing with grace-filled hearts and souls generated by love.  So let’s walk in greatness.

by Jillian E. McLeod
First published in:
The Chronicle of Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield, MA