In my church, we have been studying a book by Eric Butterworth entitled “Spiritual Economics”. It is all about creating a prosperity consciousness. The chapter for this week is entitled “The Grateful Heart”. As we approach our holiday of Thanksgiving, it is the perfect time to reflect on the meaning and power of gratitude.
In his book, Butterworth tells the story of a missionary to Africa who worked with a tribe that was poverty-stricken, even though other tribes in the area were prosperous. After years of research, the only difference he could find was that the poor tribe had no word for gratitude. He asked, “Could this loss of the spirit of thanksgiving have been responsible for their poverty?”
Many Christians say we should give thanks to God for his love and grace and our creation. But Meister Eckhart said, “I never give thanks to God for loving me, because He can’t help himself.” This may be shocking to some or sound like a joke, but the best reason for gratitude is not as a moral, spiritual or social obligation or as an adoration of a higher power. Butterworth says, “…giving thanks is an important state of your consciousness that keeps you in awareness of oneness with the divine flow”. In other words, we don’t need an object to be thankful FOR; we only need an awareness or faith in divine substance to be thankful FROM.
The Apostle Paul said, “In all things give thanks.” Notice that he did not say, “FOR all things” but “IN all things”. This means that gratitude starts from an awareness within us, NOT as a reaction to things outside us.
Plato said, “A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually to itself attracts great things.” Butterworth adds, “The grateful heart actually opens the way to the flow and becomes an attractive force to draw to itself great things.” The “flow” is the release of divine ideas and actions in accordance with spiritual laws, which yield inspiration for creative thoughts and their eventual manifestation. This is the wellspring of prosperity!
Theodore Roosevelt used to say, “Do what you can with what you have, right where you are.” Start with the big picture and the knowing there is an abundance of divine substance right where you are – inside you! When you are open and receptive to the flow of creative ideas and empowering beliefs, you will attract what you need to thrive, not just survive. Be optimistic and constructive!
As George Bernard Shaw says, “God has given us a world that nothing but our own folly keeps from being a paradise.” Yes, Heaven is meant to be experienced here and now! And that experience begins inside you with an attitude of gratitude. So when you “count your blessings”, look beyond the things you can see with your eyes, to the things that you know in your heart.