Talk in Christian circles about growing in godliness often focuses on spiritual disciplines like Bible study, prayer, worship and so on. Gratitude is on the list, but not at the top of it.
That’s a mistake, Dr. Michael Zigarelli found in a study of 5,000 Christians reported in his book, “Cultivating Christian Character.” Gratitude is a parent virtue seen in what he calls “high-virtue Christians,” the people who are most consistently Christ-like.
These people have a consistent grateful disposition. Four out of five high-virtue Christians remember throughout the day how God has blessed them. Only two out of five average-virtue Christians say they do this. The most grateful often were African-Americans.
What drives gratitude is perspective. Remaining mindful moment-to-moment of what God has given you. High-virtue Christians are perpetually aware of their bountiful life, even during its most challenging periods. This habit of awareness transports them to the next level of gratitude and character.
Today, let’s start our mindful Thanksgiving by thanking the people we love the most. Think about why you appreciate them and tell them so. It’s a push toward a wonderful gratitude habit.