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  • Baptist Beacon

The attitude of gratitude

by Bill Walker

SOUTHGATE, MI – Did you know there was an instrument gauge in the cockpit of an airplane, called the “Attitude Indicator.” Not Altitude…Attitude! It actually has a significant definition – which can be found in an avionics workbook. Here is the definition as they relay it:

“The attitude indicator, originally called the Artificial Horizon Indicator, is a type of instrument used to reference the aircraft's pitch and bank against an artificial horizon.”

Let me try to sum up in passenger rather than pilot terms. The gauge endeavors to help you keep the nose of the plane just above the horizon, which will keep the aircraft on the best trajectory, and give those on board the best experience and a fair amount of assurance that the plane will land successfully (as much confidence as you can place in a gigantic metal tube catapulting through space).

Put the nose too far above and you wind up in the clouds, and you can easily get disoriented. Fly it below the line, and you could suddenly wind up in a tailspin and have a hard time coming out of it.

It’s kind of amazing how this small part of an airplane instrument panel can be an illustration of our lives. Put your nose too high into the air and you’re not doing anyone any good, including yourself.

Does it seem like that is the way a lot of people who claim to follow Jesus are headed? Why are so many Christians (not you or me, of course) so judgmental towards so many people? Could it be that we have climbed so far into the clouds we have a hard time seeing anyone or anything with the right perspective?

The only perfect one that ever lived said to a caught-in-the-act-sinner, “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11 CSB) And to one on the other side of the law – the religious hierarchy of the day He said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him“ (John 3:17 CSB)

On the other hand, we also must make sure that we are not allowing our lives to dip below the surface. Negative, disapproving, disparaging, seems to define so much of the dialogue among believers about believers, and non—believers alike.

We can easily allow the disappointments in life (and all of us have them) to spiral out of control and quickly lead to discouragement and even despair. It becomes more and more difficult to pull ourselves, or those we love, out of that plunge.

No matter where we find ourselves on the attitude instrument panel of our lives, is there an adjustment that we can make that would help center us, guide us, and allow us to live our lives to exemplify Christ and be His light in a darkened world?

The answer is a resounding YES! And this month of November is the perfect time for us to make that adjustment. And no, this is not a “think positive” infomercial. This is basic biblical attitude adjustment. The answer is to have an attitude of gratitude.

Maybe it would help if we just made it a new word – have a (GR)ATTITUDE! A grateful mindset; a heart of thanksgiving; a soul filled with praise. Any chance that would give us the adjustment necessary to see people and view life from a new perspective?

Paul spoke of making our prayer life one of thanksgiving when he wrote – “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 CSB). He took it a step further when he wrote to the church in Thessalonica, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thess. 5:16 – 18 CSB)

Give thanks in everything. Going out on a limb here, but I think God meant more than just a certain Thursday in November.

What if our attitude became one of gratitude? Any chance that thankful heart could pull you up out of a cycle of disappointment you find yourself in? Or maybe it might be enough to help us realize just how much of a difference the incredible grace of God has made in our lives, and it pulls us down just a bit to see from the perspective of those around us.

So, here’s your assignment (wait, there’s homework?). Set aside a few minutes and use your computer, tablet, phone, or wait for it…a couple sheets of paper, and make a list of all the challenges you are facing right now.

Admittedly, it might be a pretty lengthy list considering everything we are in the midst of. But here’s the second part; after that is completed – begin making a list of all of God’s blessings, all that you can be thankful for.

Don’t skip out on the obvious either. A place to live, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, a car (or bike) to drive. We really do need to wake up and smell the coffee as it relates to how much we take for granted. Are you married? Have any children, grandchildren? Any moments that could have been mundane that turned into the miraculous?

If we take the time, we will see how much we truly should be grateful for. Not to mention, God’s saving grace, a life more abundant knowing His Son, and an eternity in His heaven that we get to call Home! That’s enough to move the needle on the attitude gauge of our lives.



Rev. Billy Walker is the Lead Pastor of Calvary Church in Southgate, MI, the Vice President of the Billy Walker Evangelistic Association and a leader with the Church Strengthening team for the BSCM. He and his wife Laurie have two daughters and are lifetime residents of the downriver area.


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