I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.Psalm 119:164 (NLT)
I have a pastor friend who was relaying a story to me some time ago. He was talking about how discouraged he was at his church. He had been at the church for several years, yet had never received a thank you note, or so much as a “thanks,” for anything that he had done. He felt like a failure. He felt like none of his church members actually cared for, trusted, or loved him. One day, in a moment of pure truthfulness, he asked his head elder if the church members actually appreciated him as their pastor. (The pastor was thinking perhaps it was time to move on if they didn’t.) The elder responded with, “Oh, yeah, we all love you pastor! We didn’t want you to get prideful.” In other words, the church members never showed any appreciation because they didn’t want their pastor to develop an ego problem.
Of course, this story has nothing to do with pastors, really. It is starting to become a global norm that giving thanks is becoming less and less of a thing. We may nod or smile at someone who has done something nice, but actually showing gratitude seems to be dying out in this world. It’s sad, really. Gratitude goes a long way in helping people feel valued.
Unfortunately, in our faith life, this lack of appreciation can spread from our human relationships to our relationship with God. How often do we spend time actually just thanking God for who He is, what He has done, and what He promises to do? Is it only in song at church? Is it just when we pray before a meal? Does our gratitude only express itself during ceremonies, or do we let it pour out in our everyday life?
As the psalmist wrote, “I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.” I think it’s a bit weird to have a set number of times to offer praise and thanks to God, but let’s look at it this way. Doing so at that level would refocus us on the thankfulness we need to show to God. At this pace, we’d offer praises forty-nine times per week, 196 times per month, 2,352 times per year. (Not including the songs at church) It’s a good start, but I think we can do even better. We need to let our praises multiply with each passing day.
Today, and every day, when you remember God, see beauty, experience love, observe forgiveness, or a million other things to be thankful for. Stop, pause, and give thanks. After all, Jesus gave up His life to save you and me. We have everything to be thankful for.