Gratitude or Abundance – Which Comes First?

I’m sure that you have all heard the question: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

How you answer that question will depend on what you believe about how God created our world. For those that believe in evolution, the answer may be (with my tongue firmly planted in cheek :-): “Well, first came an egg that a reptile laid, but the embryo in the egg wanted to have feathers, and the result was a chicken. So, obviously, the egg came first.” 🙂 People who believe in creation would answer: “God created the chicken first, it laid some eggs, and Eve made Adam a veggie omelet for breakfast.” 🙂

I really don’t want to get into a debate about evolution versus creation, because I’ll cover that in an upcoming article. And I don’t want to discount the idea of evolution, since my God is big enough that He could have either created the world with a bang and a magnificent process, or He could have just spoken and it was so. Which one is true, or whether there is another possibility that we haven’t thought of, doesn’t really affect my faith in God.

But the question that I do want to look at for this article is something that I would call the chicken and egg question of abundance. When it comes to living in abundance, which comes first: Gratitude or abundance?

There is some teaching that says we need to be grateful before we will ever experience abundance. And I know that I have tried to learn to be grateful in order to have more abundance in my life. But the problem with that attitude is that it is based on the assumption that I don’t, yet, have abundance.

In other words, when I look at being thankful as the means by which I will get abundance, I have to assume that I don’t already have it. And if I assume that I don’t already have it, I actually push abundance out into my future. Rather than simply enjoying it today, I end up waiting for it.

We all receive things in our lives according to our faith. Faith says that something is already ours, even if we can’t hold in our hands. But even if we can’t hold the things we want in our hands, we can hold them in our minds.

If we want to change our lives today, and begin to experience abundance right now, it’s simply a matter of realizing that we already have it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Why does God want us to be thankful in all our circumstances? Because gratitude puts our focus on what we already have and not on what is lacking in our lives. Psalm 23:1 says, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” When God is our shepherd, we live in abundance and being grateful for it is the evidence, the proof that we really believe it.