Do you give thanks in all circumstances? Sometimes it is hard to do!
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn't make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We're in for it!" John answered, "I can't. I've never made a public prayer in my life." "But you must!" implored his companion. "The bull is catching up to us." "All right," panted John, "I'll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: 'O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.'"
Are you good at giving thanks? Is your life marked by gratitude? Can you find something to be grateful for in all circumstances?
Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.
Paul closes this personal letter with a list of important things for the church to pay attention to. There is much here worthy of our attention: the proper respect for our pastors (v.12), a call to do good (v.15), the need to pray always (v.17) and the need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit (v. 20) to name just a few.
For our purposes we want to say a few things about the need to be thankful in all circumstances (v.18).
*It is essential
*It is vertical
*It is total
*It is horizontal
1. It is essential for the believer to be thankful in all things. Paul uses the Greek command here. this is not a suggestion. Paul knew the need for the believer to see all things as sourced in God and therefore the need to be thankful. He himself was run out of their town by an angry mob and yet called them to be thankful for tough stuff.
2. It is vertical in orientation. Thanksgiving makes it to God. It is the gift of trust we give Him. The Greek word (εὐχαριστέω) is where we get our word Eucharist - the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
3. It is total in that we are commanded to give thanks in all things ... including bull chasings!
4. It is horizontal in expression. When we give thanks to God in all things we are living in the middle of his will. Many believers ask, what is God's will for my life. I am not sure of all the specifics but this I do know, God's will is that you are thankful for where you are and what you are experiencing today.
Do you struggle with being thankful in all things? I do. I've had my share of being chased by angry bulls! Can we be honest with God about that right now? Ask Him to help you trust Him.
What are you thankful for today? List 5 things that you are thankful for. Express this to God in prayer. As you do you will be in the center of His will.
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