It is almost October, which means fall, cooler temperatures (except when you live in Georgia), beautiful landscapes, family time, holidays and a general slowing down of life.  I love how gratitude becomes an ever present theme and conversation topic at this time of year; as we gather to celebrate various holidays, we reflect on the year and what we are thankful for.

I believe gratitude is one of the most underused tools in our belt when it comes to pursuit of purpose.  The nature of pursuing your purpose is often defined by longing…pushing towards a goal… action steps and declarations.  But, we don’t realize that stopping and appreciating what we have is key to our joy and contentment in life.  And it’s actually vital to fulfilling our dreams.  If we don’t learn to practice gratitude, then our dreams will never satisfy…we will constantly want more…long for greater achievements.  We will miss out on much of what we could be experiencing now.

I have mentioned this before, but I currently work for Bethel Atlanta running their administration team and their ministry school’s internship program.  Recently, our staff read through Dann Farrelly’s book Kingdom Culture: Living the Values that Disciple Nations as part of our staff development.  This book highlights the 13 core values of Bethel Church in Redding, CA (the church that Bethel Atlanta was planted from) and goes through what each value means, what it doesn’t mean and the scriptural references for each.

The value that stood out most to me at the time was Generous Like My Father.

Most people associate generosity as a positive attribute and many Christians believe we have a call to be generous…tithing our income…giving to the poor…blessing others.  But what I love about Farrelly’s description of generosity is that he says generosity isn’t solely defined by our actions, it’s defined by our mindset.  “Generosity is a mindset.  The poorest person on earth can live generously.  Even if we don’t have many resources, we always have something to give.”

It struck me in that moment that combining generosity and gratitude would make an unstoppable duo in your life.  Gratitude keeps lack from controlling you…it keeps you present in the now…appreciative of what you have been given…peaceful in waiting for more.  Generosity will keep abundance from controlling you…it keeps your hands open as your dreams are fulfilled…as your favor grows…as your resources strengthen.  We have all seen the Scrooge complex demonstrated whether in our own sphere or in society as a whole and everyone sees it as unappealing when demonstrated in others…to have so much yet always needing more…to have great resources, yet never make them available to those around you.

If we can learn to be grateful in whatever we have and whatever our circumstances are and if we can learn to be generous with everything we have and in any circumstance, then no amount of wealth or lack will ever control us.  Nothing will keep us from pursuing our purpose or from fulfilling our dreams.

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