The Key to Living with Gratitude and Humility

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

1 Corinthians 4:

As most of you who receive the Daily Reflections know, I write these devotions as part of my job as Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge. Both Laity Lodge and are ministries of Foundations for Laity Renewal, which is a work of the H. E. Butt Foundation.

Laity Lodge is a retreat center in the Hill Country of Texas, two hours outside of San Antonio. Founded in 1961 by Howard E. Butt, Jr., Laity Lodge is one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring places I have ever been. Set in a deep, limestone canyon on the bank of the Frio River, Laity Lodge invites visitors to rest, reflect, and be renewed in the grace of God. I love being part of this amazing retreat center. (If you’ve never visited Laity Lodge before, you might enjoy some of the photos I have posted on my website.)

As the Senior Director, I often receive compliments on the extraordinary setting and welcoming architecture of Laity Lodge. I’m glad to hear how much people appreciate this glorious place and am thankful for their accolades. But I am not the least tempted to feel an unhealthy pride or to become selfishly boastful. Why not? Because I didn’t do one thing to make Laity Lodge so amazing. The property where Laity Lodge is situated was purchased by the H. E. Butt Foundation in 1954 so that disadvantaged children could experience God and nature (a vision of Howard E. Butt, Sr., and his wife, Mary). In the past fifty years, over a million children have enjoyed our Free Camps. Laity Lodge, an adult facility, was designed and built in 1961. I was four years old at that time and living in California. I joined the staff of Laity Lodge almost three years ago. So, though I am charged with being a faithful steward of this marvelous place, it isn’t mine. I didn’t build it. I didn’t finance it. I didn’t design it. I received it as a gift to be used well in the work of God’s kingdom.

FirstCorinthians 4:7 reminds us that everything we have in life comes as a gift: “What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” Some of the Christians in Corinth were getting puffed up about their spiritual abilities, as if these were a reflection of their own worth or accomplishment. But, in fact, everything the Corinthians had experienced was a gift from God. If there was any boasting to be done, God alone deserved the glory.

The more we recognize that every good thing we have in life comes as a gift from the Lord, the more we’ll be able to live each day with humility and gratitude. We’ll be humble because we’ll know that we are only recipients and stewards of God’s gifts. We’ll be grateful because we’ll experience life as grace, rather than as something we have done ourselves.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Which of God’s gifts to you might you have the tendency to claim as if it were your own doing? What helps you to see life as a gift? What encourages you to be grateful to God? PRAYER: O Lord, how easily I forget that every good thing I have in this life comes as a gift from your hand. I know that to be true of Laity Lodge, but I can easily begin to think that my talents and accomplishments are somehow “mine.” Forgive me, Lord, for glorifying myself. Help me to give credit where credit is due, not just in words, but in my heart.

Thank you, blessed Lord, for the gifts you have showered upon me: for family and friends, for my home and my church, for meaningful work, for opportunities to write (even these reflections!) and speak, for Laity Lodge and those who have made it possible, for life and health. Most of all, thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of your Son, in whom I have life abundant, both now and forever. Amen.