None of us like to consider ourselves grumps. We can always think of someone who makes us look joyful because they have the tart personality of unsweetened rhubarb. But, comparing to the most miserable of people is not all that high a bar for us to cross. If we are to live as Kingdom Family, as maturing disciples of Jesus Christ, our joy should be sweet and inviting to those around us. Sadly, we often miss the mark.
There are lots of ways to reconsider the joy we exude. Let’s take it on a very practical level with two questions. First, what are you thankful for today? Second, who are you going to tell about your thankfulness?
What are you thankful for today?
When we are thankful, we keep our focus on what is good and beautiful. This is not a recipe for overlooking injustice or pain that we experience or that is pervasive around us. Pausing to remember what we are thankful for keeps us from being consumed by negativity, and losing sight of God’s goodness and presence with us. The simple act of thankfulness refocuses our attention beyond disappointments.
Thankfulness recalibrates our default. We move from seeing everything with cynicism and assuming the worst to noting how God is at work in, through, and around us. Thankfulness is like adding a whole bunch of honey goodness to the unsweetened rhubarb sauce. The tart personality does not just have a dab of sweetness, but our entire demeanor moves toward joy.
Who are you going to tell?
Let’s be honest, we are all the more likely to follow through on being thankful when we share it with others. And, if we are truly thankful and excited, it should be natural that we want to tell this news to others around us.
We have been talking about our identity as Kingdom Family, where we communicate and treat each other as family because we are brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. The result is that all people will feel welcome and valuable in our churches and Conference.
Kingdom Family is a great identity marker, but it is more than a concept. Kingdom Family requires practical steps that we all take. That includes thankfulness that we share with others, including the people closest to us as well as people that we do not yet know so well.
Rhubarb is amazing, but not on its own. The same is true for us. Let’s move past the tart personality of unsweetened rhubarb into a community experience of joy-filled thankfulness.