From an early age we learn about cause and effect. Universal lessons like, “For every action there is a reaction”, and “if you punch your sister she will cry and then tell on you” are among our first experiences. And for some things, it is easy to tell what is a cause and what is an effect. But, is it easy for everything?
What about gratitude?
Is gratitude something you have, that causes something else to happen; or is it the effect of some circumstance - like an unexpected gift?
In my head, I am settled that gratitude is a cause. It comes first, it is a choice; but when I look at my life, it is clear that often, my behavior would suggest that I believe gratitude only to be applicable when my circumstances are positive. I live as though it is a result or an effect of something else, something that I have no choice over.
It is in this behavior that I am struck with the fact that I miss so much simply because I don't choose gratitude first. I choose to focus on scarcity, not on the abundance that I have in Christ. I choose to think about the challenge of what I don’t have, instead of the great riches I do have because the Father loves me.
It is an audacious command for Paul to tell us in 1 Thessalonians to “...Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Because to rejoice always and to pray always and to give thanks always requires us to see rejoicing and gratitude as something we have control over; a choice.
A choice that is not connected to circumstance, jealousy, opinion or the feeling of being victims to our surroundings.
As we start the holiday season, our choice to be grateful will be pressed over and over again. We’ll be tempted to think about what we don’t have, how we aren’t good enough, and how difficult things are. Even in our shortcomings, we have a choice to allow Him to make our weakness strong. This isn’t a choice we make once, but one that we constantly make.
So, let us go in to this season focused on the abundance we have in Christ, and let’s make gratitude the cause that God uses in our lives to transform us.
We are excited to announce that we will have an in-person worship service outside at 8:30am in the MCC parking lot! We can’t wait to see you! In addition, our Sunday live-stream (on Facebook and Instagram) will move to 10:00am for the foreseeable future for those who are not be able to join us.
We’ve chosen for our service to happen outdoors as there are still a number of requirements and protocol for indoor gatherings. So, we are not inviting you to join us indoors at this time. Instead, come for our outdoor gathering, or continue to join us online later from home.
Please read the Guidelines for Gathering to Worship Together at MCC in its entirety so that you know what to expect when you come to our outdoor service. This will help you and those around you navigate a very new situation, hopefully in a way that is as seamless as possible. We believe that our unity will be expressed and strengthened as we serve one another in Christ this week so join us in extending grace to each other, amid our differing perspectives, and different views about how to live in this time.
“... submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
“Outdo one another in showing honor.”
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
Please know that we are making every effort for this gathering to be in full compliance with the protocols given by authorities. No single plan for our meeting will ever be the perfect solution in any one person’s eyes. We will all be making compromises. But as we defer to these guidelines set up by our elders and leadership, we will be serving our fellow believers, honoring Christ as best we can, and providing for a beautiful expression of worship to happen together.
Please stay home if any of the following apply to you:
- You are immunocompromised.
- You are feeling ill (running a fever, coughing, or showing other signs of sickness)
Please don’t put yourself or others at risk. Thank you for staying home and staying safe, because we love you!