The Virtue of Gratitude

By Engr. Carlos Cornejo

Any pursuit on worldly things such as money, fame, power and pleasure will always end up making the pursuer wanting for more but never getting satisfied.  On the other hand, pursuit for knowledge, skills and loving others makes us full and would happily still want more.  With the former it makes the pursuer unhappy.  The latter makes the pursuer thankful.  What’s more the latter gets to multiply his joy because what he additionally acquires feels like a bonus.  In contrast the former may get more but feels he still has less.

This reminds me of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.  They are all very famous people and have altered the world with their inventions.  They too are all very rich.   They’re worth billions and yet they have not retired.  They could have just stopped working, went on a world tour, savored everything that money could buy and still have much money left.  But they are still in pursuit of knowledge and inventions because it gives them more satisfaction than wealth.   They’ve proven the premise in the first paragraph.

The foundation of the virtue of gratitude is that one feels and realizes he has been blessed and is appreciative of it.  Francis Schaeffer said, “The beginning of men’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.”  So true, Adam and Eve instead of focusing on what they had, focused on what they had not.  And what did our first parents have that they should had been thankful for?  Freedom from death, ignorance, and pain.  Ownership of the entire world.  They had more lands than the Ayala’s and Aboitiz’s combined.  Being in the state of God’s love and grace.  They had everything but felt lacking something.  And what was that something?  In the end, there are only two things to ultimately choose in this world: created things or the creator. They chose the created thing: themselves.  They wanted to be a god for themselves.  The devil chose the same thing.  He then infected Adam and Eve with the same disease.

What happened to our first parents can be summarized by what Max Lucado said, “The devil doesn’t have to steal anything from you, all he has to do is make you take things for granted.”  This too can happen to us, when we forget we have been given much, the roof on our heads, the food on our table, and the loving people around us.  The key is to be happy with the simple and then be thankful.  If not, we could feel miserable.

We should have the attitude of George Hubert, when he said, “You O Lord has given so much to me, give me one more thing—a grateful heart.”  Our thanks to God should always precede our requests of Him.  St. Paul advises us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “Pray without ceasing.  In everything give thanks.” John Mason said, “Don’t find yourself at the end of your life saying, ‘What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d appreciated and realized it sooner.’”  An anonymous poem says it all:

Thank God for dirty dishes; they have a tale to tell.

While others folks go hungry, we’re eating pretty well.

With home, and health, and happiness,

we should not want to fuss; for by this

stack of evidence, God’s very good to us.