I remember as a little girl, I always loved the movie Pollyanna. Briefly summarized, the movie (based on a novel) is the story of a young orphan girl living in the early 1900’s. Despite her painful and broken past, she decides to approach life with the mindset of taking difficult circumstances, and turning them into something good by having a positive attitude. She was always adamant and determined to find the joy in the present and press onward. She would play a game called “The Glad Game.” When she was confronted with something negative, she would flip the mood and find something that she could be glad about instead.
I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I remember that theme always standing out to me. My mom would encourage my siblings and I to do the same. When my 7-year-old self was tempted to complain about not having mac-n-cheese (the best food in the whole world) for lunch, she would stop me saying, “Wait! Glad game! What’s something you can be thankful for instead?”
Hm. What a simple concept; overlook the bad and replace it with something good. Easy, right?
Fast-forwarding ahead several years, I joined a girls’ bible study in early 2017, studying the book “One Thousand Gifts.” The first day, we went over this funny sounding Greek word, “Eucharisteo.” The word is εὐχαριστέω in its authentic form, and the translation of the word breaks down into the following Greek root:
Chara, being a crucial root to the word Eucharisteo implies that joy AND thanksgiving are necessary in order to create the final simplified meaning:
1. to be or feel grateful; to give thanks.
I remember this word standing out so much when I heard it.
And then I had a thought…
Why, WHY is it so hard for people to live this word out?
Living as 21st Century Americans, the amount of negativity, ingratitude, and complaint that surrounds us in this culture is overwhelming.
Going through this study opened my heart in so many ways. I was personally convicted of the tendency I have to be ungrateful over both big and small things, forgetting all too quickly the blessings that were RIGHT in front of me! Instead, my selfish heart only desires more things of the flesh.
Through the study, I learned a lot about what it means to pursue Christ; a main takeaway being that in order to live a life fully committed to Christ, it is paramount that eucharisteo becomes not just an occasional action or feeling, but instead, the epitome of our lifestyle.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
We are a body of believers called to give thanks to the Lord in EVERY situation.
A simple, practical challenge that the girls in the bible study and I did to incorporate this into our lifestyle was to take blank journals and each day write down three things we’re thankful for, from small things like Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, to large things like the influential role models in our lives. I was shocked at how taking five minutes to do this each day completely changed my attitude for the whole day. Days I felt like complaining, the Lord instead used to show me His goodness and grace.
As I continue to learn and grow, I continue to realize how essential it is to practice Eucharisteo (that is, combining joy and thankfulness). Offering our gratitude to the Lord IS indeed the Christian’s response to the gift of salvation that the Lord has bestowed upon us.
Upon receiving salvation, we are no longer lost or wandering. It is then that we are His; His redeemed, chosen ones, and the very least we can do in response to this gift is incorporate this act of eucharisteo into our daily lives.
This reminder absolutely wrecked my world. Often, especially in today’s culture, it becomes all too simple to glance over all of the blessings poured upon us, without the slightest bit of gratitude or prayer of praise to the Lord.
The truth is that we don’t deserve any of the good in this world; not our life, our family, our friends, our home. None of it. Yet the Lord is gracious enough to give us blessings like these anyways, his SON most of all! If nothing else, the gift of my salvation is reason enough to turn a grumpy mood into a joyful one… the simple reminder of the fact that we are here, living and breathing as redeemed people in Christ. Hallelujah, all I have is Christ!
This post was written by TeenPact Representative Allison Clark. Allison lives just south of Atlanta in Peachtree City, Georgia. She is currently serving her first term as a TeenPact Representative.