"Enter into God's gates with thanksgiving, and into God's courts with praise: Be thankful unto God, and bless God's name." - Psalm 100:4
Recently, I went to court to settle a landlord-tenant dispute. The judge referred the case to arbitration.
I entered the arbitration room armed with details that supported my claim and pretty much convinced that a mutual settlement was not possible. The arbiter entered the room and stated that after reviewing the case, she believed that a mutual settlement could be reached.
"Yeah . . . right!" I thought to myself sarcastically.
The arbiter then proceeded to guide the discussion along the lines of what common interests the landlord and the tenant shared. Both of us tried to focus the discussion on the details that supported our opposing arguments, but the arbiter kept bringing us back to the interests we had in common.
Three hours later, to my surprise, we signed a mutually agreed upon settlement.
I entered the arbitration room with anger and doubt. The arbiter entered the arbitration room with hopeful expectation. Thankfully, the hope she brought into the room overcame the doubt I brought into the room.
What we bring with us to the issues of life sets the tone for what we will receive.
The anger or the openness we bring to relationship issues sets the tone for how that relationship will develop.
The cooperation or the competition we bring with us to the work environment sets the context in which we do our jobs.
The thankfulness or the cantankerousness we bring with us to church is a large determinant of what we will receive from the worship experience.
It's difficult to enter a situation and find fulfillment if within ourselves, we've already exited before we even enter.
Lord, help us to enter every life issue with hope.... And let that hope be the arbiter of our days. Amen.
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Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.