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Gratitude by Jon Lewis

 

Do you have an attitude of gratitude?

 

Sometimes it is challenging to find and keep an attitude of gratitude. Right after Christmas, my wife broke her leg in a skiing accident. Thanks to a novice snowboarder who ran into her on our first run down the mountain, my wife found herself with a fracture of her left tibia which, although not extremely serious, did demand a twelve-week recovery period.

As frustrating as it was for her to adjust to life with walkers, wheelchairs, and crutches, I learned quickly that my life too would need to be significantly altered as I took on the role as her one-and-only care-giver.

At first, it was all about cooking meals and shuttling to and from doctors’ offices and therapy session. Then I realized that committing to twelve weeks of care-giving also meant canceling an international trip I had planned along with teaching seminars in several African countries.

My first emotional response was to “grin and bear it.” After all, those wedding vows hanging up in our bedroom did document the commitment I had made forty-two years ago to offer her my “love, loyalty, and devotion, without condition or qualification.” But as the implications of schedule changes became clearer, and my days became more absorbed with laundry, grocery shopping, and dish-washing, I found myself focusing more on the “bearing” part and less on the “grinning.”

One thing our temporary change of lifestyle did afford, however, was more time to spend at our breakfast devotions. It was there, reading through one of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling booklets, that I was reminded of the power of an attitude of gratitude.

“A way of increasing your Joy is to give thanks in all circumstances. Ask My Spirit to help you view your life through the lens of gratitude. Search for blessings scattered along your pathway. As you thank Me for My Presence and Peace, you appropriate My richest gifts.”

Being a Steward Leader is all about cultivating and using the Master’s gifts as wisely as possible. Doing so, however, demands stewarding the freedom He gives us to make choices concerning those gifts.

This season of caring for my wife is precisely one of those opportunities I have to make such a choice: do I focus on the frustrations the unplanned events of the past few weeks have brought with them or do I search for the “scattered blessings” along this unexpected pathway? The Master’s gifts of His Presence and Peace are there regardless.  But how I steward my response choice will determine whether or not I will actually experience them.

I guess that is where the “leader” part of being a Steward Leader comes in. The farther along the journey of stewardship we travel, the more God expects us to exercise mature, leadership choices regarding the circumstances we encounter. Right now, for me, those circumstances are teaching me a brand new lesson about how I can be both a servant husband and experience my Master’s Joy and Peace at the same time.

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Jon Lewis is a Senior Associate for Partnership Advancement with OC International and focuses on encouraging global Christian leaders towards greater ministry effectiveness. With over 40-years of experience, he also served as a MAF mission pilot in Africa and CEO of Partners International.

 

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