A few days ago, this nation paused for a moment to give thanks.
We celebrated Thanksgiving, a day this country’s forefathers set aside to give thanks to God for His help and bountiful harvest. Families, friends and even strangers got together to enjoy the blessings from the Lord.
However, I’m convinced that every day ought to be a day of thanksgiving. God does not want our thanksgiving to be limited to one Thursday in November. I believe He wants us to continually thank Him for all circumstances in our lives. I believe He wants us to live a life of thankfulness.
You have to understand that God deserves our thanks, and He desires our thanks. He wants us to be grateful for His goodness and not to take it for granted. You have to realize that not everyone enjoys the blessings that many of us enjoy right now. Some don’t have homes to live in or food to eat. Yet, we enjoy so many blessings from God, and some of us are meant to say thank you.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” As Paul writes to the church of Thessalonica, he makes it clear that our giving thanks is to be continual and not contingent. That is, it is to be ongoing in spite of our circumstances, not just because everything is going well. I’ve discovered it is easy to give God thanks when things are well in our lives. It is easy to give God thanks for the good things and times.
However, life has its ups and downs. It is in those difficult times that we fail to give God thanks. You see, all of us have to learn how to be grateful to God no matter what the circumstances are. Paul says in everything give thanks. He asks us to do something that is difficult. I want you to know that Paul was able to maintain an attitude of gratitude even though he faced some very devastating circumstances. He had this attitude because he held onto a proper perspective of both God and his circumstances. He knew God was good all the time. It was not something he just said to invoke audience participation. It was Paul who said that all things work together for good. He did not just say that, but he knew that, and he knew that a good God would only allow circumstances that would result in something good.
We need to understand that sometimes things are not always the best. In fact, they may be downright bad, but we still are to look for something to be thankful for. Believe it or not, there always is something positive we can be thankful for. For every negative thing in our lives we can find 10 positive things. Instead of complaining, we need to give thanks.
Dr. Dale Robbins wrote, “I used to think people complained because they had a lot of problems. But I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain. Complaining doesn’t change anything or make situations better. It amplifies frustration, spreads discontent and discord, and can invoke an invitation for the devil to cause havoc with our lives.” Therefore, instead of complaining about your situation or your circumstances, give thanks.
In everything give thanks; this is not a casual remark that Paul makes. For added to it is the reminder that “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This addition to the commandment of thanksgiving gives it an importance surpassing mere exhortations of the word. God’s definite will for you and me as believers is that we shall be a fountain of praise and that our lives shall be in thanksgiving to God at all times and in all circumstances.
Therefore, let us develop a life of thanksgiving. In everything give thanks.
Jackson is the pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.