woman and man talking while holding hands
The Importance of Making Amends in Recovery
June 5, 2018
No Regrets
June 5, 2018

Cultivating a Grateful Heart

By Anthony Acampora, Director & Chaplain
Banyan’s Faith in Recovery Program

You may recall a time when your mother or father said to you “You need to be grateful for what you have.”

I know I heard that many times growing up, but I usually dismissed it as just something parents would say when they were not going to buy me what I was asking for. The phrase really did not have much meaning at the time. After experiencing tremendous loss later on in life, I now have a much deeper appreciation for being thankful for God’s many blessings.

Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12,13

I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Now let’s take a look at the definition of gratitude:

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has opposed to the consumer-oriented emphasis on what one wants or needs.

Quite the contrast, we have the Apostle Paul who was once a prominent Jewish leader named Saul and after his conversion to Christianity became Paul, now writing the above passage from prison. He is focusing on what he has rather than what he no longer has or needs.

When we have an ungrateful heart it seems like a bottomless pit of sorts. The more we acquire the more we want or feel we need. We begin to live out the second half of the above definition “consumer-oriented emphasis on what one wants or needs.”

In the gospel of Luke 17:12-19 there is a story of Jesus healing ten men from the horrible illness of leprosy. Only one of the ten men that Jesus healed showed any gratitude or thanks. This prompted Jesus to say “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?”

What insight does this story provide for us today? That God recognizes when we are ungrateful.

Often times, we spend a lot of time and effort asking God for things and when He provides them we spend much less time giving thanks for the answered prayer. I know I have been guilty of it. When we begin to focus more on the things that we already have, and less time on what we want or think we need, the process of cultivating a grateful heart is set in motion!


If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, please call our faith-based treatment center today at 888-280-4763.