The Importance of Gratitude in the Midst of a Pandemic
Over the past year, churches have faced many new challenges. These challenges created drastic changes that required adjustment to a new normal. Wearing masks, social distancing, and not having access to the in-person services we’ve grown accustomed to wreaked havoc on our congregations and our lives, not to mention the sickness and loss of loved ones. Change, for many of us, especially those in church leadership, creates a seemingly unmovable obstacle. It’s easy to become frozen in fear as doubt arises because we feel so out of control of our circumstances. As we try to pivot and adapt, there is an overwhelming sense of doom that can nearly paralyze us or prevent us from fully experiencing peace of mind. Collectively, we are in survival mode.
Survival mode presents a unique spin on the circumstances that many church leaders, especially pastors, are facing. Even in leadership, survival mode causes us to see the magnitude of the problem negatively and confuses us into believing there’s no hope. When we’re afraid, our situation takes on a life of its own. It begins to control us instead of us being in control of it. As the thoughts spiral, we panic and, in a global pandemic, it seems like the only thing to do. It seems it is the only thing we CAN do as we struggle to maintain some sense of normalcy.
We’ve learned that global pandemics present a genuine, multifaceted problem that needs an authentic yet simple solution.
Reminder: That simple solution is Jesus. Jesus is the only one who has complete control of our circumstances, and even though we don’t recognize him in the moment, His love for us is immeasurable.
Knowing Jesus in this capacity and allowing him to be all that we need in this life creates in us a wellspring of gratitude.
The Bible tells us so
Scripture tells us to give thanks in ALL things. All things mean giving thanks in both good and bad times. Jesus and his finished work is the source and foundation of this gratitude. Scripture says it’s God's will for us. Church leaders need to model this gratitude and set the example for others to follow. Our whole perspective shifts when we turn our attention away from our grim situation and put that focus on his faithfulness. We can see life with eyes of joy that create a sort of excitement to meet the challenges we face. He fills us with his peace that is incomprehensible as we navigate through uncertain times. We can be thankful that he never leaves us and is with us through it all.
We have freedom
Gratitude gives us freedom from what we are facing. As we project our doubts and fears into the future, gratitude and thankfulness bring us back into the present and helps us tap into our creativity to overcome the obstacles in front of us. Pastors demonstrating appreciation for Christ’s love, forgiveness, and unmatched compassion, opens the door for fellowship and community. When we are thankful, we are primed for service. This example of appreciation will inspire others as they are no longer focused on themselves but actively seeking ways to serve the greater good.
We have hope
Giving thanks and practicing gratitude for the one who gave his life, a perfect sacrifice for us, makes all the difference. He provides us with hope for eternity together with him and one another. This hope is what true worship in the heart of a believer looks like. We humbly recognize that without him, there is no hope. Gratitude is the gateway to fully experiencing the hope of eternity in our present circumstances. It becomes a daily act of celebration!
Gratitude, especially in the face of the pandemic, really does make a drastic difference. Gratitude for Christ, no matter the situation, will change your mindset, But it will also change your life as a leader and the lives of those you influence. It will always be for the better. May we always find ways to cultivate this wonderful gift.
How do you express gratitude in your work?