Everyone likes beautiful, no one likes ugly. We usually think of beauty and ugliness in physical, musical, and artistic terms. One can also think of beauty in mathematical terms – as in the beauty of an elegant equation.
Virtue is also beautiful.
"There is an undeniable aesthetic dimension to virtue. We are naturally attracted to the good and equally repulsed by the bad." John Dixon, Humilitas
As we move into the Thanksgiving season I thought it appropriate to take a few moments to reflect upon how gratitude is a beautiful virtue and makes us more attractive to God and man.
Gratitude is beautiful because it acknowledges that everything we are and have are gifts from God
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for: “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring. Acts 17:24ff
Gratitude is beautiful because it fosters humility, which itself is a beautiful virtue
Arrogance is as ugly as humility is beautiful. John Dixon, Humilitas
What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 1 Cor. 4:7
Gratitude is beautiful because it demonstrates and expresses appreciation to God
Then David said, "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” 2 Sam. 9:1
And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening. 1 Chron. 23:30
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Gratitude is beautiful because it makes us generous toward others
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Tim. 6:17
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 2 Cor. 9:6ff
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 1 Cor. 8:1ff
Gratitude is beautiful because it fosters contentment
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, [in part because he has learned contentment] but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. Phil. 4:10ff
The beauty of Gratitude:
- Acknowledges everything we are and have is from God
- Fosters humility
- Expresses appreciation to God
- Fosters generosity
- Fosters contentment.
My prayer and encouragement to each of us is that we seek to be more beautiful in the eyes of God and others by cultivating the discipline and the virtue of gratitude.