Gratitude Before Cheerfulness

As I mentioned yesterday, I am away camping with my wife. Today we have hit upon another simple spiritual maxim to ponder. This one came about in a sort of half-funny way.

Our oldest son John has decided every other family on the face of the planet is more fun to be around than his own family. His attitude has been very unpleasant. This despite the fact we have a rule in our house – on a list of rules even – which says “Be cheerful, helpful and grateful.” He has not been achieving any of the three and this has led to some frazzled nerves amongst the older members of our family.

The wife decided he should try to work on one of these and she decided he should try to be more cheerful. I remarked, “He should work on being grateful first.” Then I made a short list of the things we have done for him which should inspire gratitude.

On reflection, this is a good spiritual principle I think. Gratitude precedes cheerfulness. Just think of the Hebrew people wandering about the desert. They were a miserable bunch! They complained about the food, the leaders, the leadership, the destination and as many more things as they could think of. Poor Moses must have hated his job!

What they lacked was a good sense of gratitude for their deliverance from slavery. Their perspective (or lack thereof) is revealed when they actually moaned at Moses and claimed slavery would have been a better option!

Gratitude precedes cheerfulness. So if you find yourself lacking in cheer – thank someone for something!


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