30 June 2023

Founders’ Day 2023: Do we have an attitude of gratitude?

Claire Anderson

Graphic shows a slice of cake with a candle in it. Text reads: A birthday to share.

Ahead of Founders’ Day weekend, Claire Anderson asks if we are giving thanks in all circumstances.

Do you ‘live, laugh, love’? Does ‘teamwork make the dream work’ for you? Are you ‘living your best life’ because ‘yolo’ (you only live once)? Slogans and catchphrases can be positive reminders for how to live our lives – although these few are from my personal Room 101.

One phrase that came close to joining them recently was ‘having an attitude of gratitude’. Even now, the saying makes me mildly uneasy, as it could be misconstrued as a missive to sugar-coat tough times. However, gratitude is a powerful quality – it can bring joy in the midst of challenging circumstances.

The Bible has plenty to say on gratitude, emphasising its importance in the life of the believer. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to ‘give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you’. You could be forgiven for thinking that this means sugar-coating your trials because that’s what God wants, but that isn’t what Paul says. He is reminding us that practising gratitude is not simply a response to favourable circumstances, but a mindset that acknowledges God’s goodness, even if times are tough.

And the great thing about gratitude? It has a far-reaching impact on us and those around us. Harvard Medical School says: ‘Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. [It] helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.’

We all experience tough times at some point in our lives. The older I am, the more challenges seem to crop up, but I’m learning to be grateful in the moment for God’s goodness as he walks me through tough days. I take comfort and joy when I look back with gratitude for nurturing corps fellowships who have loved, supported, inspired and guided me, which itself makes me more able to respond to others with love, compassion and service, even when I feel like I’m battling on.

This Founders’ Day (2 July), we’re being encouraged as a church family to harness our collective ‘attitude of gratitude’ to celebrate the Army’s birthday. Our Movement has been sharing the gospel and tackling social injustice for 158 years – and that mission hasn’t been achieved by any one person alone. What better way to celebrate than by bolstering others, saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s contributed to our work, to our world and, most importantly, to God’s Kingdom?

In our attitude of gratitude, let others see a people living in and acknowledging God’s goodness in all circumstances – and inviting them to do likewise, experiencing fullness of life with Jesus.

Reflect and respond

  • What are you grateful for? Write a blessing a day for a year and read them next year to celebrate all you’ve been given.
  • When has having an attitude of gratitude changed how you’ve felt about a tough situation?
  • Who has supported you in finding faith? Your officers? Fellow corps members? Thank God for them.

Written by

Photo of Claire Anderson.

Claire Anderson


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