Posted on September 26, 2020 Posted By: Eric Ockrin
Categories: Latest News
No one can escape the reality that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. And, if you’re an observer of people, then you’ve probably noticed that it’s taking a toll. He’s what I see. It seems to me that fewer and fewer people appear… from the looks of their faces or from their body language…to be happy or joyful. Whether I’m at the grocery store or in a restaurant…or even in church… I see face after face looking tired…worn out…bored… or just drained of any emotion.
I’m not immune to this. The response I find myself giving when people ask me how I’m doing is usually that “I’m feeling disoriented”. And if I’m not careful…if we’re not careful…then we can get down pretty fast. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This is because there is larger realty than Covid 19 for those who follow in the way of Jesus.
We are not alone in these times. Of course… we are hoping for an end. We pray for speedy advances in medical treatments such as a vaccine…but our larger hope is still more secure. We as Christians are offered a spiritual face mask and soul reaching vaccine. Fundamentally, we have tools and resources to move though hard seasons in a different way than the world does.
The Bible helps us focus on something powerfully important in our lives to help us through the most challenging times and seasons and circumstances. The obvious answer to ALL things is Jesus. It is true Jesus is the answer… but I want to be a bit more pragmatic and focus on something specific to help us in these uncertain times. This thing is… gratitude.
I believe gratitude is so central and so important that I want to orient us over the next 5 weeks in a series titled “The Enemies of Gratitude”. Given the complexity of the season we’re in and the condition of human hearts, and minds, and emotions…I’m making a pastoral decision to seize the opportunity to focus us on gratitude. And my approach will be to call out those things that get in the way of being grateful. So here are the themes.
Week one- The first enemy of gratitude is “Nostalgia”. We’ll notice how glorifying our past can blind us to present blessings.
Week two- The second enemy of gratitude we will face is “Worry”. Together we’ll explore that gratitude is not about less stress but more trust”.
Week three- The third enemy of gratitude is “entitlement” This theme reveals that when we lose sight of radical grace we forgot who we really are.
Week four-The fourth enemy of gratitude is “greed”. Drilling down on this theme will help us recognize that we need to give God what is God’s (i.e., everything)
Week Five- The fifth and final theme is “disappointment”. We’ll wrap things up by recognizing that we can’t let loss keep us from appreciating what is good.