It has been said that the quality of our gratitude determines the quality of our lives. The more we express thankfulness, the happier we are, and the more we are blessed. I can personally attest to the fact that this attitude of gratitude has served me well. It has trained me to focus on the good and remember the source of all my blessings.
We can learn much about cultivating this type of attitude each day from the Torah portion, known as the parshah (listen to Episode 1 for more information about this ancient Jewish Bible reading plan), that covers Leviticus 1-5. Called Vayikra, which means "and he called," this parshah covers much of God's laws regarding sacrifices and the offerings that were first brought to the tabernacle and later to the Holy Temple. Even though we no longer bring these sacrifices described in the Bible, these verses still contain messages relevant to our lives.
In Leviticus 2:4-7, we read: "When you bring an oven-baked grain offering, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers spread with oil. If your offering is grain on a griddle, it shall be of unleavened wheat flour mixed with olive oil. Break it into pieces and pour oil on it. It is a grain offering. If your offering is grain in a skillet, it shall be made of wheat flour in olive oil."
So what does that have to do with cultivating an attitude of gratefulness every day? While these verses describe the different types of grain offerings, they also contain a recipe for cultivating gratitude—one that helps us see the manifold blessings in our lives.
The Torah describes three kinds of grain offerings—one that was baked in an oven, one that was prepared on a griddle and one that was cooked in a pan. The offering baked in the oven represents our "daily bread"—the basic necessities for living. The offering prepared on a griddle is associated with a sweet cake and represents the luxuries we are blessed with that sweeten our lives. Finally, the offering made in a pan refers to dishes cooked for special occasions and represents the momentous occasions that occur throughout a lifetime.
By mentioning these three types of offerings, Scripture teaches us that we have to cultivate our gratitude in all three areas.
By thanking God for our daily needs, our daily gifts that go beyond our basic needs and the special occasions we have been blessed with in our lives, we bring great pleasure to our Father in heaven. Moreover, we bring a spirit of joy upon ourselves and invite even more blessings into our lives.
For more on cultivating a spirit of gratitude, listen to Nourish Your Biblical Roots on the Charisma Podcast Network.
Yael Eckstein is president and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. Annually, The Fellowship raises more than $127 million, helping 1.5 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world.
Yael leads all ministry programs and serves as the international envoy and on-air advocate, giving her the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of the world's largest religious charities. She recently was named by a leading Jewish publication as one of "top 100 individuals who have positively influenced Jewish life" for her work as "the world's leading Jewish interfaith activist."
Yael's writings have appeared in a variety of respected publications, including The Jerusalem Post, Fox News, CBN, The Christian Post, Charisma and The Times of Israel. She is the author of three books: Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children, Holy Land Reflections: A Collection of Inspirational Insights from Israel and Spiritual Cooking with Yael.
Born in Chicago and now a proud citizen of Israel, Yael and her husband, Amichai, are the proud parents of Meora, Liam, Sapir and Shimmy, to whom they are imparting the legacy of faith.
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