Notes from Jason Denison from this weekend’s message, “The Meaning of Gratitude”:

So what does gratitude have to do with the meaning of life?

Gratitude (aka worship) is the precursor to NEW KINGDOM REALITIES. Why?  Because grateful people gush.  Gush what?  The stuff we’ve been given.  As Psychologist Robert Emmons notices,  “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms.” That’s because grateful people spill all over the place the stuff they feel they have received.  If they feel they have received nothing the following ensues.

  •  If you’ve been given nothing you’ll have nothing but nothing to give.
  • If you listen to the voices around that tell you are an idiot, a waste of space, a hopeless case, then that’s all you have to give.
  • If you think you are poor you will share like a poor man.  But if the Possessor of All Things is yours, then you will share like a King.
  • If you are the kind of person that says “just my luck” a lot, I wonder what people get from you when you are around.  We’ve all been that guy, what do they get?  They get someone who feels like a curse to the rest.  They get a curse – UGH!  Not fun.
  • You understanding who you are and what you have in Jesus is mission critical to EVERYTHING, but especially cocktail parties, and any other interpersonal experiences you’ll find yourself in.

You see, if you’ve been given something, then you have something to give.  Perhaps that is why Simon Chan says, “In communion we become the sacrifice we are celebrating.”  In communion, we receive the ultimate gift, our restoration to the Creator of our souls.

Many have said before that we were created for worship,– it’s true, in so far as it goes, but it needs some nuancing.  We were actually created for communion.  God (Self Giving, Personal Love) created us to participate in that communion.  So God pours Himself out to us and we respond by pouring ourselves back to him.  Another way you can say this is that we give our lives back to God.  All of them, every part of us, poured back to Him – even the bad stuff.  That’s why the Psalms are filled with hard stuff, and the beating of God’s chest, because that’s worship too.  This is a vision God is fulfilling not only between us and Him but you and me.  This giving of ourselves (or loving) is something we are invited to do between one another.   And when it happens something very cool follows – Kingdom – where God’s will is done.

Here’s where gratitude comes in.  Gratitude is the precursor to pouring.  Someone who is ungrateful will not give.  They will hoard, grasp, and demand because in their mind they have nothing.  Therefore, if where we are headed is a reality where your primary function is to give and my primary function is to give, gratitude, worship will lead the way.

HUGE POINT:  The God who brings the gifts and the sacrifice is restoring creation to Himself through people who have been given something and are responding that gift of sacrifice by offering themselves up.  This is a picture of what was before even time was created, and what God envisioned for all of us when He created.  KINGDOM.

It might be that you are busy, distracted, numbed by the wealth of the Western world.  I pray that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to know the hope to which we’ve been called, the riches of His glorious inheritance and the incomparably great power which raise Christ from the dead.