"Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, RSV
Recently my daughter-in-law posted a comment on Facebook which really got me thinking. She wrote “Imagine if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were thankful for today...”
I was prompted to consider firstly all those aspects of my life that I could give thanks to the Lord for – my family, my health, my work, my friends – to begin with. Secondly, I had to acknowledge that I don’t regularly give thanks for all these, and other, blessings.
What are the blessings in your life? Let’s pause right now and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for them.
But the quote is deficient in trying to capture the more comprehensive view of thankfulness that we find expressed in the Bible. Our passage above, from 1 Thessalonians 5, instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances. Which circumstances? The good times, happy times, prosperous times? Yes, but also in the times when we are suffering. When we are disappointed, rejected, hurt, ignored. When we fail. When we sin. In ALL circumstances give thanks. Yes, even when we don’t feel like it, we are to give thanks. Why? The answer is encapsulated in the second part of the verse. We rejoice always, pray constantly and give thanks in all circumstances because this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. Even in dreadful circumstances it is possible to give thanks – for in Christ Jesus we are able to know that God our Father has all circumstances in His sovereign hands. We are secure in Him even in the storms of life. Knowing this enables us to be thankful.
Prayer: Father, I am sorry that I haven’t been giving thanks in all circumstances. It seems too difficult at times. Will You please help me to lift my eyes up to You and trust that You have all things under control – and even when I don’t understand why things are happening as they are – that You will help me to thank You anyway. Thank You Father. Amen.
Today's Writer : Paul Watson Paul Watson was for 15 years an Anglican Minister in Sydney, Australia before joining Ellel Ministries full time in 2004. Together with his wife Diane he was involved in establishing the first Australian Ellel Ministries centre “Gilbulla” near Sydney. Currently they are leading the work in Western Australia, based at ‘Springhill’ near Perth. Paul, a member of the Ellel Ministries International Executive, serves as Regional Director for Australia & the Pacific as well as Regional Director for the Indian sub-continent. Paul & Diane have 4 adult children and 4 grandchildren.