As Christians we should be the most grateful people alive. After all, doesn't the Bible encourage thankfulness and condemn grumbling? Peter Maiden traces the theme of thanksgiving in Scripture, and shows how we can genuinely live counter-cultural lives even in an age of rampant entitlement. With a pastoral heart, he explains how gratitude is the key to joyful, consistent Christian living, discipleship and mission involvement.
He focuses on:
* how we can develop the habit of thanksgiving
* the benefits of gratitude
* how we can be grateful, even in hard times
Each chapter unpacks biblical truth and grounds it with practical application and personal illustrations. A series of short Bible study questions and reflections (mostly on the Psalms) conclude the chapters.
Foreword by George Verwer
Introduction: Thirty-six hours
1 'You owe me'
3 A debtor
4 Ingratitude, but choosing gratitude
5 Disciplined gratitude, not grudging submission
6 Time out to remember
7 Gratitude, success and riches - the good, the bad and the ugly
8 Gratitude and sovereignty
9 Learning contentment
10 Gratitude as a weapon - fighting back with praise
11 Gratitude and lament
12 Radical gratitude in action
As he was writing this book, poignantly and to his great shock, the author learned that he was suffering from incurable cancer. Far from derailing his message, this unwelcome news energised his efforts as he poured out his vision on the page with his now-limited resources. This is authenticity at its best. This book will be the author's last.
Peter Maiden’s book, Radical Gratitude, was partly written when he knew he had inoperable cancer, yet the tone of the book never falters. The message of this book doesn’t miss a beat: we need to be thankful to God, at all times, not so much for what he has given us, great though that is, but for who he is – loving, kind, merciful and unchanging. This is not a message that says ‘Do this and all this shall be added unto you’ – this is about giving God gratitude because that is the right thing to do, it is not a means to an end (though he does say that it has been shown that gratitude is good for our mental health).
I worked with Peter, both in his role at the Keswick Convention and as the editor of two of his other books, and I can say without a shadow of doubt that he lived what he preached: he was a man of great integrity. And that inevitably influences a reviewer, when you know that what is being said has been lived first, in difficult situations.
The book is short, and its structure is simple: brief chapters, Bible readings, suggestions for reflection. Its impact, however, could be powerful. For preachers, it is a good book to recommend – it won’t tax readers, it is not complex. It’s also a good one to read and reflect on, particularly during difficult times – and when, at the moment, are times not difficult? One particularly telling anecdote in the book relates to Peter’s first trip for Operation Mobilisation (he was to be one of their leaders for many years). Away in Spain for three months on a mission trip, he says, he wasted the first month hating the experience. Eventually, he realised not only that his attitude had to change but that only he could change that attitude, and he set about doing exactly that, by praising God. It sounds simple: it worked. Choosing what we think about is powerful. I recommend this book, and also his other titles.
Preach magazine review by Ali Hull
Publishing consultant and commissioning editor. Sorted magazine, Preach magazine.
AUTHOR: Peter Maiden is International Director Emeritus for Operation Mobilization, having retired as International Director in 2013. He is Minister-at-large for Keswick Ministries. He lives in Kendal with his wife Win. He has three grown-up children and nine grandchildren.