Priming the Pump

Gratitude is a choice, an important life-balancing choice. Without gratitude, we can take the blessings of life for granted, and forget the ultimate Source of our blessings.

I remember the day my grandpa introduced me to an old outdoor pump. "Watch me, Dawnie Babe," he said, "I have to prime the pump." When I looked confused, he started pumping the handle hard, coaxing water to rise from the earth.

These days, we speak of government "priming the pump" by taking action to stimulate the economy through cut taxes or reduced interest rates. To prime a pump is to use a strategy to drive something positive to happen.

So it is with gratitude. Sometimes we need to prime the pump of our gratitude by asking questions:

  • What do I have this thanksgiving that I didn't have a year ago?
  • Who are the people in my life that bless me?
  • Where has God allowed me to serve, and how were lives changed as a result?
  • When did I see God at work in my life?
  • How did God change my heart...my attitudes...my thoughts?
  • Why do I love the Lord more today than when I first met Him?

The classic scripture for priming our spiritual pump is Psalm 103:1-2. David says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul...and forget not all his benefits." Throughout the psalm, David lists some of those benefits: forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, compassion, good things, renewed youth, etc.

Yet, as wondrous as God's blessings are, the Apostle Paul invites us to a higher standard. We are simply to rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4). Our gratitude is not dependent on what we have or enjoy, but on Who we have and enjoy...God Himself.

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