Thankfulness is our reflection on the way that things make our lives better. Gratefulness is our recognition of the sacrifices that have made something possible that makes our lives better. Blessedness, finally, is our confession that it is God Himself who has done this.
And thus, we have our pillow. Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.
Again, it's so tempting for us to think that these three words are roughly synonyms, and the truth is that we use them that way far too often. But when we separate them out and really think about what they mean, we come to a point where our experience of the good things in our lives is so much richer, so much deeper, so much more wonderful than we even imagined.
This is as much true with blessed as with either of the other two. We have come to a place in our culture where we use this word "blessed" without any connection to God at all. What we mean when we say it is that we certainly are living the good life. That's all. Just the good life. Not the God life. Not the good life that was created for us by God. Not a life dependent upon our being blessed by God (the only place from which blessing ever comes). Just the good life.
No wonder we've fallen into a complacency where God is not relevant to our daily living. Hey, not even our blessings depend upon Him. Apparently, they just...happen.
Because we're good or something. And we deserve it. And we orchestrated our lives so that they would. Or maybe...maybe...we're just "lucky."
Does that sound familiar? Do you know anyone in your life who views blessing as merely an act of luck? Are you one of those persons who believes that good things just happen, that things just randomly fall into place when you're a good person and you deserve good things?
This...is another form of our thankfulness. It's self-centered. Its emphasis is primarily on how lovely it feels to have good things in our lives, with no reflection at all on where those good things actually come from or what they even mean. It keeps drawing us back into a dull sort of existence where all we think about is ourselves.
But blessedness, as I said just a few paragraphs ago, always comes from God. It is always an act of God, always a movement of God. And I wonder how it would change our lives, particularly our lives of faith, if we remembered that every time we use the word. Every time we consider ourselves blessed. Every time we think about what it means to have good things in our lives. It means, above all else, that God loves us.
And that, I think, would have to change our experience of it. It would have to shape the way we interact with goodness in our lives. It would have to change the way we worship in response to this goodness. It would change, well, everything...it would even change us.
So be thankful, yes. Absolutely. But be more than that.
Be grateful, recognizing the sacrifices that have gone into making your good things possible. And be blessed, knowing that it is God alone who has done this for you.