This is the last of the series of posts I have done talking about the three things that have most affected my life and ministry as a result of being part of Infuse. Those three posts.
1. Three things I learned from Infuse: Introduction
2. Three things I learned from Infuse: Ask good questions
3. Three things I learned from Infuse: Staff Level Volunteers
4. Three things I learned from Infuse: Thankfulness
The greatest thing I have learned from Infuse is the discipline of thankfulness. In life and ministry few things will destroy you like a lack of gratitude. Life is tough. Working in ministry can be thankless. The result is that we are tempted to see only the things that are frustrating and everything we see and do is based on that frustration. A lack of gratefulness taints all we do.
Francis Shaeffer says it better than I ever could:
The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is the lack of a thankful heart.
Tim Keller says:
Worry is not believing God will get it right Bitterness is thinking God got it wrong.
At the very center of our being we drift toward entitlement. We like messages that tell us what to do so we can go do those things. While there is a place for practical helps in preaching and ministry. The fundamental problem beneath all of these is a lack of gratitude and a sense that we are owed something. I felt that way for years. I felt God was lucky to have me on his team. That attitude produced in me a sense of spiritual entitlement, when things didn’t go my way it was Gods fault I was doing my part. The problem was I didn’t see Christ as a beautiful savior I saw him as a useful servant to do my bidding.
You will never survive in ministry if you don’t learn, develop and practice a thankful heart. Thankfulness is not something we fake it comes from a understanding of our sinfulness and Christ’s sufficiency. When you see yourself as you are, a great sinner, you will Christ as He is, a great savior. This is something you must do daily preach the gospel to yourself and remind yourself of your utter dependence on God. The reflexive result of applying the gospel to yourself is gratitude. You are thankful for everything because you deserve nothing.
Why do many marriages collapse? A lack of gratitude. Why do many pastors leave their church for a bigger better one? Many times a lack of gratitude. When we live out the implications of the gospel we are free to love others and lay our lives down for those around us. We are filled with gratitude because of Jesus has done.
If you asked me what is one thing that will fundamentally transform your ministry, your life, your marriage, I would tell you to practice thankfulness daily.