I have to admit, my first reaction was "Oh good, more of that gratitude stuff..." But I checked myself: 1) you can't have too much gratitude, 2) constant reinforcement is a good way to learn and 3) I'm glad I kept reading.
It makes perfect sense to me to keep focused on gratitude. But it can be a bit new-agey if we're not careful. I don't mean for that to sound derogatory in any way, just that the "attitude of gratitude" battle cry is common across our culture. We have to be sure that the focus of our gratitude is God. Not ourselves, not what we do, not how we do it: we have to be aware that the many blessings are freely given, not earned. That's where we differ from the secular culture. Or should anyway...
The last two verses are encouraging. The "They" refers to "the righteous":
In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
I realize that definitions of "old age" are shifting radically in this day and age, but this is a good reminder to keep striving and not sit back and claim an "old-age pass" prematurely. There's definitely more work to be done.
Questions for reflection:
- What are you most thankful for today?
- Tomorrow starts a new chapter in my life.
- As you name the things for which you are grateful, how do you feel? Do you feel less stressed, less anxious? How could you make more time for the things that gladden your heart?
- Not yet. Frankly, there's still some trepidation. Though the study so far has been helpful in preparing me and opening my mind and my heart, there's still residue of the old self asking all the "WhatIfs." I'm hoping that to at least allow the questions, but be confident in God helping me with the answers.