People who embrace stewardship as a spiritual way of life often speak of an “attitude of gratitude” that is life-changing. No longer do they live for the newest, shiniest thing all the time, but rather, find the blessings of every day. Rather than being consumed by what they don’t have, stewards celebrate what they do have. This simple shift makes a profound difference in the way stewards think about their lives and about the world.
At times, I am reminded to turn to gratitude in surprising ways. Recently, my husband and I met our daughter and her family for a long weekend vacation. Our grandchildren are four and two years old, and Steve and I always enjoy time with them, our daughter, and her husband. On this particular vacation weekend, however, it rained. Hard. All weekend long! On the first full day we were together, we donned our rain jackets and best walking shoes, visited a great farmers market, had a nice lunch, and when the rain really poured, went to a children’s science center. At the end of the day, I asked our grandson what was his favorite part of the day. Lo and behold, he replied, “The rain!” I couldn’t help but giggle, and think about it through his perspective. If you’re a little one who is always told, “Quick, get out of the rain!”, the opportunity to run in the rain, hop through the puddles, and have all sorts of people comment on your super-cute rain jacket is very special indeed! As I reflected on the day, I found myself thinking of the blessing of being with our daughter and her family, the things we saw and experienced, and the incredible gift of rain which nourishes plants and provides the water needed for us to stay alive. My interior grumbling at the rain had turned into an attitude of gratitude.
As we grow as stewards, this attitude begins to permeate our outlook on life. But it doesn’t stop at the way we see things, it also impacts the way we live. If we’re truly grateful people, surely we will want to share some of the blessings with others; if we are no longer chasing after the newest material thing, we find ourselves wanting more for those who have little and are more able to focus on what matters. Do you have an attitude of gratitude? What difference does this make in your life?