Reclaiming the Gifts of A Lost Spiritual Discipline
by Dustin Crowe
“In the Bible thanksgiving plays a prominent and powerful role, but we’ve demoted it to a seasonal add-on.”
Lately my attitude has not been of the highest standards when it comes to the thanksgiving department. As I was scrolling through different books to read I stumbled across this book in hopes of it uplifting my funky attitude—in hopes of reclaiming my thankful heart, which I lost somewhere between hopelessness and dispair. To my delight it gave me a true assessment and remedies for my issues.
In the Book of Philippians the Apostle Paul instructs them…’Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV) In this everything we have a sustaining peace that is not understood by men. But we must notice that Paul said everything and that’s exactly what he meant—a totality of all things ascribed to one’s life. And we all can agree, this is much easier said than done. When we find ourselves in certain situations and circumstances. When we don’t think God hears our pleas or prayers—that malady can cause us to slip into a state of discontentment where grumbling and complaining become a mindset and gratitude becomes a UFO.
We have to reprogram ourselves to react just the opposite when trouble comes, which is in complete antithesis to our fleshly nature. Perhaps this is the source of our lack in experiencing the joy of a God-filled life. Herein lies the element of which Crowe expounds, driving home that gratitude is a necessary component in knowing and experiencing the hope of our gracious God. In his Introduction he states, “It would seem, however, that surrendering to the limits of your circumstances is not the same as surrendering to God. Resignation is not the same as gratitude, and choking desire does no lead to thanksgiving.” To Crowe, Thanksgiving is not just a one day holiday, but should be a way of life for all believers.
After the Foreword, he begins this book with a fifteen point Gratitude Quiz so you can see, firsthand, where you are on the gratitude scale. You might just be surprised! The quiz asks questions like: 1. Do you more often (A) remember God’s blessings in your life or (B) forget them? 2. When things don’t go your way, do you typically respond (A) in gratitude or (B) by grumbling? At the end of this quiz, according to the stats, you fit in three categories…You will have to get the book to see which one.
What I found interesting was the fact that Crowe considered himself to be a recovering pessimist, which, by the way, is the partial title of his Introduction. Very seldom do you read Christian books where the author admits his/her shortcomings or flaws, which I find both admirable and relatable as a reader.
The writer then proceeds into nine chapters concerning thanksgiving. At the end of each chapter he has a refresher called “Putting It Into Practice” which teaches you to not just be a reader, but also a doer.
Those nine chapters are:
- Gratitudes Blueprint
- A Theology of Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving: An Anchor through the Storm
- Recognize, Reflect. Receive
- Look Around and Look Up
- Thankfulness Expressed
- Enjoy the Gift and Embrace the Giver
- Remembering: Looking Back to Look Forward
- Gritty Gratitude: Giving Thanks in All Circumstances
These 164 pages are power packed, well written and a very good read. I’m tossed between two chapters—Chapter 1 where Crowe quotes Tim Keller. “It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” (pg. 29) Then in Chapter 8 we learn that thanksgiving plays an intrical part in worship and true worship is grounded in gratitude. Reminding us that “Christians must draw from the well of their memories and histories to find refreshment in God’s faithfulness…Present fears and future anxieties are calmed by past faithfulness—not our faithfulness but God’s faithfulness. Remembering generates thanksgiving.” (pg. 127) We must trace our paths from remembering to thanking to trusting.
At the book’s end there is a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge getting you into the practicing principle of thanksgiving.
If you find yourself to be more of a grumbler than a praiser then you need to get this book—it will open your eyes to the scriptural applications of thanksgiving and give you a deeper and refreshing understanding.
We give The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks
I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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