News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Gratitude causes humility, good deeds and more, church members say

By Melanie B. Smith 340-2468

Summer Caver, 17, and Kayla Ingham, 16, said they are grateful.

The girls notice when their parents do extra things for them. So the teens said they sometimes do chores without their moms or dads asking, like doing laundry or straightening the house.

The girls said they get the concept that gratefulness should be lived.

Summer and Kayla were among people at Flint Baptist Church's Thanksgiving dinner who told how gratitude affects their lives.

Jodi Peterson said gratitude creates humility as she thinks about all she has.

Thankfulness for her happy home, health and material goods, and for Jesus as the source, results in contentment, Gail Cofer said.

Being grateful counteracts selfishness, said Michelle Medlin. Listening to raindrops hit the church roof, she said it might take a drought to make people grateful for something as basic as rain.

Larry Akin and Roger Cobb said they see a spiritual principle at work when they give out of a grateful heart without thought of return: God always blesses them. Nobody can out-give God, the men said.

"Gratitude is ... the blessing within the blessing," Cobb said.

Keith Rogers said gratefulness helps him keep sight of what he has, not what he wants.

Jeanette Hutchison said gratitude grows out of being a Christian and makes her count her blessings all year long.

Youth minister Patrick Caver said leading youths to mow lawns for the elderly and do similar acts is gratitude at work. Youths have seen they are blessed and enjoyed giving back, he said.

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Riner said when she helped an elderly woman push a cart across a parking lot, she was grateful.

"I was thankful I had good health," she said.

Comments from the Flint Baptist congregation reflect research about gratitude.

Experiencing thankfulness makes people feel more loving, more forgiving and more helpful, said Robert Emmons, author of "Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier." He said gratitude improves relationships and makes people more altruistic.

The Rev. Billy Cagle, pastor of Flint Baptist, said he does not always see a spirit of gratitude in today's culture.

He said that in Romans, sins listed against God include "neither were they thankful." That attitude is one of the marks of a society that is not as it should be, he said.

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