Why gratitude?

By Shannon Caughey

During a discussion with a group of coaches, one veteran coach addressed a difference he sees in his players now. “In the past, when I told my players what I wanted them to do, they just did it,” he said. “Now my players often want me to explain why we do what we do before they’re ready to do it.” Another coach responded, “That may not be such a bad thing. When players understand the ‘why’ behind what we do, they’re able to more fully buy in.”

Maybe you grew up in a home where your parents constantly reminded you to “say thank you.” You expressed gratitude because they told you to. Going further: if you’re a Christ-follower, you’re likely aware that living with gratitude is something you’re supposed to do. It’s okay to be thankful because we know it’s the right thing to do. But when we have a greater understanding of the ‘why’ behind being thankful, we’re able to more fully buy in to living daily with genuine gratitude.

In Psalm 145:8-10, the psalmist summarizes this ‘why’: 8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. 10 All of your works will thank you, Lord, and your faithful followers will praise you.”

All of God’s works – that is, his creation (including us) – have reason to be thankful to him in any circumstance. It’s not just when life is going well and things are unfolding the way we hoped. The ‘why’ behind living with genuine gratitude in any circumstance is this: who God is and how he relates to us.

We are eternally thankful that God does not treat us as we deserve to be treated because of our sinful rebellion against him. Instead, he is full of mercy and compassion toward us. He loves us with an unfailing, sacrificial love. God’s mercy, compassion, and love are real day by day no matter what is happening in our coaching circumstances and life circumstances. When we recognize this, it fills us with gratitude.

Another reason we can always be thankful is because God is always good. Even on days when everything seems to go wrong and our team plays poorly and even our dog wants nothing to do with us, God’s goodness is real. We have food to eat, a place to live, family and friends who love us, an opportunity to coach… The list of blessings we daily enjoy is long! James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” The good things we experience each day are gifts from our good God. As we remind ourselves of this, it fills us with gratitude.

Coach, because of who God is and how he relates to you personally, you always have reason to be thankful. Keep returning to this foundational ‘why’ for a life of gratitude. May your heart daily overflow with thanksgiving to God for his mercy, compassion, love, and goodness to you.

For reflection: Take some time to reflect on God’s mercy, compassion, love, and goodness to you. Express your gratitude to him.

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