“We’re not grateful because we are happy, we are happy because we are grateful.” Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, quoted a Benedictine monk to begin his luncheon speech November 17 at the 2017 Bishops’ Club Luncheon in Little Rock.
Rev. Hamilton spoke of cultivating a rhythm of gratitude and working to keep from slipping into a habit of lament. He gave examples of studies that have shown that gratitude makes a measurable physical difference in a person’s health.
“Every part of the body benefits from gratitude,” he said. “You sleep better, your heart is healthier and you have less symptoms of depression when you make an effort to be grateful.” Rev. Hamilton said school systems are incorporating gratitude into curriculums and workplaces know the value of excelling at gratitude.
He talked about his experience as a shoe salesman when he was a college student and how he wondered why a co-worker was so successful. He knew everything there was to know about the shoes, he could answer all the customer questions, and she did not have that expertise. But what Rev. Hamilton found out was that his co-worker wrote a personal note of thanks to every customer. She thanked them for their business, and that’s why they would come back another day to purchase shoes from her rather than buy from him.
The biblical story from the 17th chapter of Luke about the lepers who were healed and only one of them came to Jesus and thanked him was another example he used. “He healed all of these men with skin diseases physically,” Rev. Hamilton said. “But the man who thanked Jesus was also healed in his soul.”
Rev. Hamilton said that generosity is an expression of gratitude, as good works are an expression of faith. He noted that giving creates happiness for the benefactor and that thanking God for all that he has given us leads us to give a portion back to His work.
He also took time to praise the United Methodist Foundation for its grant emphasis on church leadership, especially the support of young church leaders. “A question I ask every day is ‘who will be the pastor for my granddaughter?’”
Rev. Hamilton launched The Church of the Resurrection with his wife and two children in 1990. In 2000, he was named one of the “Ten people to watch in America’s spiritual landscape” by Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Today the church is the largest United Methodist Church in the United States with an average weekend attendance of 10,000.
The Bishops’ Club Luncheon is hosted by UMFA in appreciation of the Bishops’ Club members. Annual members make a $1,000 annual donation to the Foundation and Life members make a one-time $15,000 donation to the UMFA Cornerstone Fund. These gifts provide critical support in underwriting UMFA’s ministry. If you are interested in becoming a member, contact Vice President of Development Janet Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-664-8632.