Give Thanks in All Circumstances
Last night I went to the annual Thanksgiving Service at our church. I didn’t want to go. In fact, I wanted to be anywhere but there. I had been struggling all afternoon with hard emotions bubbling right under the surface facing today’s Thanksgiving holiday. For most, it’s a time for families to come together. For me, it is painful. I know I am not the only one who feels this way during the holidays.
The pastor taught on these verses…
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for your life in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
God’s will for your life and mine, is to give thanks in everything. These words hit me hard. To give thanks in the good times, in the hard time, in the sad times, in the happy time and even in the midst of the holidays that are difficult. His desires to have a people with grateful hearts.
Giving thanks is a choice. Being grateful is a choice. In the war that rages for your heart, one of the best practices to cultivate, is a grateful, thankful heart. In fact, ungratefulness was the first step in humanity's downfall. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).
Because they were unwilling to glorify God and give Him honor, this was the result:
They became fools (vs. 22)
They exchanged the glory of God for man made images (vs. 23)
They were full of sexual impurity (vs. 24)
They exchanged the truth of God for lies (vs. 25)
They worship and served everything but the Creator (vs. 25)
They exchanged natural relationships for unnatural ones (vs. 26-27)
They became deprived in mind and did not retain the knowledge of God (vs. 28)
They were filled with wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, and became gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful (vs. 29-30)
They invented ways of doing evil (vs. 30)
They were disobedient to parents (vs. 30)
They were faithless, heartless and ruthless (vs. 31)
They approved of others who also practiced these things (vs. 32)
If ingratitude brings the downward spiral into these things. Then, giving thanks does the exact opposite, It brings us into union with God. If we recognize God’s glory and the awesome things He has done for us, then giving thanks should be the natural response. It should not be hard, it should be as involuntary as breathing…
David was the perfect example of a thankful heart, Psalm after Psalm opens with his praises:
“PRAISE THE LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).
“PRAISE THE LORD, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothes with splendor and majesty” (Psalm 104:1).
“GIVE THANKS to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done” (Psalm 105:1).
“PRAISE THE LORD. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).
“GIVE THANKS to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).
David recognized and recounted the awesome things God continually did and could not remain silent but had to tell of His wonderful works. Generations after generations have benefited by these words of thankfulness as penned by King David. They are a great reminder that thankfulness in all circumstances is God’s will for us. Today, I choose to be thankful.
So as you gather with your family, your friends, go to work, whether you are alone or surrounded by loved ones, remember that because of God’s great love for you, you have a reason to be thankful. I pray that just like David, you will be able to express it and that your heart will overflow with joy as a result. Happy Thanksgiving!