Gratitude is Power

Psalm 138

I give thanks to you with all my heart, Lord.

I sing your praise before all other gods.

I bow toward your holy temple

and thank your name

for your loyal love and faithfulness

        because you have made your name and word

        greater than everything else.

On the day I cried out, you answered me.

You encouraged me with inner strength.

Let all the earth’s rulers give thanks to you, Lord,

when they hear what you say.

Let them sing about the Lord’s ways

because the Lord’s glory is so great!

Even though the Lord is high,

he can still see the lowly,

but God keeps his distance from the arrogant.

Whenever I am in deep trouble,

you make me live again;

you send your power against my enemies’ wrath;

you save me with your strong hand.

The Lord will do all this for my sake.

Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord!

Don’t let go of what your hands

have made. (CEB)

There is the old saying “Knowledge is power.” I don’t disagree, but the psalmist has a different perspective. For this psalm anyway, gratitude is power. Gratitude acknowledges where everything comes from. Gratitude recognizes the power of God’s gift and our need for God’s grace. Gratitude puts everything in perspective. 

Being grateful to God is looking in the right place for the source of all we are and all we have. Doing it ‘in front of’ other ‘gods’ recognizes the competing interests for our source of strength and security. Who are the other gods? It is different for our society in detail only. We worship the gods of wealth, power, acceptance and influence. These are the same as the gods of old; of fertility, of the sun, and of the weather. Today we get a sense of what ‘gods’ we are expected to worship by watching what advertisers tap into. We are exposed by what ‘gets’ us; by what tempts us.  

Gratitude is the main antidote to advertising’s power, which is meant to sow seeds of discontent. Their strategy is to sow disdain for what we have and a desire for ‘something else.’ If we are grateful for what we have, we are less tempted by the suggestion that more is better, or different is better, or new is better. If we are grateful for what we have been given—our time, talents and treasures— we can put everything in perspective. 

Not only that, God has responded when we cried out in distress. There will be hard times in life. It is a given. If we know God was with us the whole way we can find peace even in the midst of what is going down. It doesn’t mean our distress was removed, but we were not alone and through it all, God was with us. We can be grateful that God knows what we are going through. 

God has clearly seen this psalmist through stuff. But the psalmist doesn’t have a problem free life. 

Whenever I am in deep trouble,

you make me live again;

Life is an ongoing process. Some days are easier than others, but each day lived with the recognition that God is with us and for us, well, that just makes everything better. 

Remember that God is with you and for you today. Remember to give thanks for the many blessings you have, even the ones that came in hard packages. Counting our blessings is a spiritual discipline. Gratitude is a practice. 

I commend to you today to practice gratitude.  

blessings to you,

Pastor Karla 

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


Published by: Pastor Karla

I am a pastor and a retired Navy Chaplain who believes following Jesus in compassion, service and gratitude is the very best kind of doctrine. God is present in the world in the Spirit and in the church as the body of Christ. I am a One on the enneagram who lives to find the balance between having my 'to do list' all crossed off at the end of the day and being spontaneous in the moment. Biblical literacy is important to me, and I want to make the meaning of the Bible and its stories less of a mystery to the average person so the love of God comes through to them clearly. You can contact me at blessings to you, Pastor Karla

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