“giving thanks ALWAYS and FOR EVERYTHING to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,…”
“give thanks in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; for this is the WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus for you.”
(Ephesians 5:20 and I Thessalonians 5:18)
As I sit and write this article today, it feels like Thanksgiving! I don’t know what the weather will be like in a month, but today would be a perfect Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, we can’t choose the weather we get, nor when we get it. If I haven’t said this before, “I LOVE THANKSGIVING!” There’s just something about the time with family, friends, food, and fellowship that make the day seem very special. However, I am concerned that Thanksgiving is losing its importance within our society. For what am I to give thanks? Why do I give thanks? Am I to be grateful for the mess that my life and my world are experiencing? These are legitimate questions, but I don’t know if they are biblically based ones.
As I have reread Paul’s writing on thankfulness, he puts a different perspective on giving thanks. I’ve tried to highlight the areas that I thought were important. Look at them again, “ALWAYS”, “FOR EVERYTHING”, “ALL CIRCUMSTANCES”, AND “WILL OF GOD”. When you read these words them and think on them from God’s perspective, I have a whole lot of changing to do.
Just imagine, giving thanks to God always. There should never be a time when thanksgiving is not a part of our lives and especially a part of our prayers. Like me, you can probably think of a hundred different situations where “giving thanks” is the last thing on our minds. However, Paul teaches Christ’s followers to give thanks always. In other words, no matter our situation, we must give thanks.
Then, there’s the phrase, “giving thanks for everything”. This goes back to the general statement of thanking God always. Now, Paul begins to be more specific…”for everything”. This makes my thanksgiving even more difficult. I don’t have an excuse, an “out”, or a reason NOT to give thanks. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am to give thanks to God through Jesus “for everything” period!
In First Thessalonians, Paul complicates things even more. He writes, “give thanks in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; for this is the WILL OF GOD.” It is God’s will that I am thankful to God. Wow! Even more pressure. Really, what does all this mean. I believe it means that thanksgiving should be at the root of everything in our lives. In Colossians, Paul writes, “ whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything…giving thanks to God”. Since Christ Jesus lives in us, there is nothing that should shake our thankfulness to God. From man’s perspective, this is impossible, but from God’s perspective, it is possible. If it weren’t, He wouldn’t ask us to do it.
Since that is the case, I must allow Christ to teach me how to be thankful always for everything, and in all circumstances because He desires me to be thankful. So, there’s only one thing left to do…BE THANKFUL!