The Lens of Gratitude

by Scott Stake

Recently, I went to the eye doctor for a check-up and can you guess what I was told? Yep…no more 20/20 vision. And while I hated to admit it, I can’t say I was surprised. My eyesight has indeed changed—lines are a little blurry, colors are less distinct, and objects in the distance are a bit harder to pick up. It’s not super noticeable, but enough that my overall sight is lacking. So, a purchase might be in order soon...

In the same way, Thanksgiving week is God’s invitation for us to re-check our eyesight and try out some new glasses to see our world through. When global events may seem confusing, our life somewhat a blur, and the immediate future a bit murky, we can often look through the lens of doubt, apathy, or uncertainty.

But as we saw in Daniel 10 this past Sunday, God reminds us that He is building a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28) and that He is working all things for our good (Rom. 8:28). He invites us to look with eyes of faith through the lens of gratitude and “give thanks in all circumstances” because “He who calls you is faithful” and “will keep your body, soul, and spirit blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:18, 23-24).

But sometimes it’s tough to gain perspective, isn’t it? Just as putting on a new pair of eyeglasses requires humility to admit that we don’t see clearly and that we need help, viewing the world through a lens of gratitude also requires actively and intentionally focusing on cultivating joy in everyday circumstances. It also takes community. We need one another to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and to see what God is up to not only in our lives but in others' too.

So, this Thanksgiving, I encourage us all to ask our family, friends, and community group to help us see life through the lens of gratitude—to look for God in both the big & small ways. I’d also like to invite you to a couple of events that I think can encourage us in our faith and give us a lens of gratitude for what God is up to around the world!

A team of us are leading a 15-week course open to all churches called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement on Tuesdays from 6:30-9pm, beginning January 17, at Four Oaks Midtown. We’ll hear from 15 different missionaries and pastors share what God is up

to all over the world, as well as read outstanding articles from world-renowned authors. A few of our speakers include:

Don Richardson, who took the gospel to cannibals;
Dennis Cochrane, who proclaimed the gospel to an unreached tribe in Papua New Guinea;
Bekele Shanko, who grew up in Ethiopia where his dad worshiped Satan and now oversees church planting in Africa;
Steven Masood, a former Muslim in Pakistan who now shares the gospel with Muslims.

Cost: $295 for certificate level or $550 for college/graduate level credit
Discounts: Save $50 if you sign up by December 4. Save an additional $50 for each person you refer who registers.

You can click here to register or find out more!