2 Barriers of Gratitude
Yesterday we talked about serving like Jesus. And to serve like Jesus, you have to be available. To serve like Jesus also means being grateful.
To serve like Jesus, we have to serve gratefully, grateful that we get the opportunity to serve.
The Bible tells us a story in John Chapter 11 of Jesus serving in an incredible way. His friend Lazarus had died, and He went there, some people thought for the funeral, but Jesus had a different idea in mind. He went there to do ministry, to raise Lazarus from the dead. Now He could have walked up and prayed a prayer and not said anything to anybody, to Himself and God. But He decided to pray the prayer out loud so that we could still read it today and see what He had to say, so those people could hear it.
John 11:41-42 (NLT) "Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here."
"I want them to know that I am grateful that you heard Me.” Jesus had an attitude of gratefulness in everything that He did. He started with gratefulness. That was His attitude in ministry. Now you might think "I'd be grateful too if I could raise people from the dead." However, Jesus was also grateful in the tough times. Jesus was grateful when He was criticized. Jesus was grateful when things were not easy in ministry. That was the attitude that He led in His ministry.
Ministry and miracles always happened in this attitude of gratefulness. The apostle Paul was grateful. He said, "I thank Jesus Christ because He trusted me. He gave me this work of serving Him.” And the Bible talked about our attitude of gratefulness in
Psalm 100:2 (NAS) "Serve the Lord with gladness"
Why do we serve God with gratefulness? What do we have to be grateful for? Why do we serve God, not with a sense of duty, but with a sense of delight? Not out of a sense of obligation, but a sense of the great opportunity that He's given to us? We serve Him with gratefulness because He's given life to us through Jesus Christ. He saved us! If He never did anything else for us, that is enough to be grateful for the rest of our lives to serve Him.
2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT) "It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan."
He saved us, and out of the gratefulness of that, what He has done for us, we serve Him. Now, as human beings we tend to trip over ourselves on the way to serving God, on the way to this attitude of gratefulness. There are some things that get in the way.
One of them, one of the barriers to gratitude is...
1. Comparing and criticizing
When you compare to others, when you criticize others, that is a barrier that gets in the way for all of us of being grateful.
Romans 14:4 (NLT)"Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong."
We're all His servants. So it's a matter of His opinion, not my opinion or your opinion of one another. Competition with each other in service, it just doesn't make sense when you come right down to it. When you think about it, we're on the same team. We have the same goal. We're trying to let the world see how good He really is. He's given us different abilities, different tasks. And to think that somehow we can compare or criticize in that is pretty ridiculous.
The second way we get in the way is…
2. wrong motivations
Our own wrong motivations.
Matthew 6:1 (NLT) Jesus said "Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”
The wrong motivation of showing off. How do you know? How do you know if you have a wrong motivation? Gratitude. This very attitude. When you lose a sense of gratefulness, of gratitude in your life, you can know right away there's something wrong with my motivation.
If you want to learn to serve like Jesus, to be a Fully Devoted Follower, you have to learn to serve gratefully with a generous heart. You make yourself available. You make yourself grateful.