As we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, this is the perfect time to think about the spiritual discipline of gratitude. The upcoming week, which culminates in Jesus dying on the cross (Good Friday) and then rising from the grave (Easter), is the very cornerstone of our faith. This week is also the final six days of Lent, which we have experienced through 40 days of prayer based on the life and ministry of Jesus. Through the reading of Scripture, composed and/or spontaneous prayers, and the examination and application of specific practices designed to bring us closer to God, the response should be gratitude. In beautiful, God-designed synergy, gratitude leads us to want to engage in the various spiritual disciplines, and gratitude is the result of that engagement. It’s the catalyst and the consummation of a desire to know Jesus.
Grasping the full meaning of gratitude can help us understand its symbiotic nature, especially when it comes to a spiritual practice. Gratitude is an emotional response founded in receiving an undeserved favor or gift. God grants us mercy through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross—which is the same as saying we didn’t get what we deserve. We receive this mercy, our salvation, through grace, not through our own merit or works. Another way to say it is we got what we didn’t deserve. Our response is wholehearted gratitude. Take this one step further, gratitude spurs us on to doing good works, making God famous, loving Jesus through others.
One way we live out gratitude for the grace of God is by sharing the message of his grace. Evangelism can be a scary word because it has had some unseemly tactics assigned to it. But, in reality, it is a beautiful word and concept. The root meaning of the Greek word for evangelism is actually “angel or messenger of good news.” By our very association as a follower of Jesus, we carry the Good News, the Gospel, with us as part of our story. We don’t need fancy words, colorful maps, or detailed historical chronology to share this Good News, we just tell our story. If you don’t know where to start, you can always begin with gratitude. This week is the perfect week to tell people why you are grateful…and to become part of their story.
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Romans 10:15 NLT