At the beach a grandmother was watching her grandson digging in the sand when a huge wave came and took him out to sea. Patiently she pleads, "Please God, save my only grandson. I implore you, bring him back." And a big wave comes and washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new. She looks up to heaven and says: "He had a hat!"
Now, that's gratitude for you, isn't it? Have you noticed that some people just can't be satisfied? Some people — and I'm talking about you and me, not someone else — have a hard time expressing gratitude — much less even feeling it.
Stephen Post, a medical school professor of bioethics, in 2001 created a research group called the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. It was dedicated to testing and measuring the effects of love, gratitude, and other positive caring emotions in human life.
The research that Dr. Post uncovered was that spending 15 minutes a day focused on things you're grateful for can have the following effects on our physical health:
1. It increases your body's natural antibodies.
2. It increases mental capacity and reduces vulnerability to depression.
3. It creates a physiological state of "resonance", improving your blood pressure and heart rate.
That's gratitude for you. Seriously! It not only lifts up the recipient, it also gives life to the one expressing it. This is why we're told time and time again in the Bible to give thanks: A thankful heart puts us in right orientation with God and one another.
My brother-in-law Kern found the secret to gratitude years ago from the apostle Paul. Here is Kern’s life verse: "And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:15-17)
I want to encourage you today to look for something ... and someone ... to be thankful for. Take a moment to feel it, and another moment to express it.