In Everything Give Thanks

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”―1 Thessalonians 5:18

In our focal verse, the Apostle calls believers to give thanks to God in all circumstances, not simply when we become the recipients of some blessing from God.

The call is to thank God in every circumstance, whether it is in joy or sorrow, adversity or prosperity, times of peace or times of stress―in everything!

We are also to give thanks for everything. Read Ephesians 5:20 and Colossians 3:17. This does not mean that we thank God for evil―He is not the author of evil―however, even in the midst of what seems to be the most terrible of circumstances, we can always find a reason to thank God for His sovereign hand in our lives.

We are also to thank God in every place: in the house of God and the bed of sickness; as we come in and as we go out; when we are with the people of God and when we are among the unsaved. Thank God!

Thank God in:

  • Private prayer.
  • Personal attitude.
  • Public worship.

Why is it God’s will to be thankful in everything?

  1. It honors Him (Ps.50:23).
  2. It reflects the stability of your faith (Col.2:6-7).
  3. It displays the rule of Christ in your heart (Col.3:15).
  4. It is the fruit of God’s Word dwelling richly in your heart (Col.3:16-17).

Why should we give thanks to the Lord?

  • Because He is good (1 Chr.16:34).
  • Because it is good to give thanks (Ps.92:1). Thanksgiving keeps the heart soft and prevents the hardening of your heart.
  • Because we have received an unshakable kingdom (Heb.12:28).
  • Because of the gift of Christ (2 Cor.9:15).
  • Because of God’s supply of our daily needs (1 Tim.4:3-4).
  • Because of God’s goodness and mercy (Ps.111).
  • Because it is God’s will (1 Thess.5:18).

Matthew Henry, the commentator, was once robbed by a group of thugs who took his bag with several of his personal items. When he arrived home, this is what he wrote in his diary:

“Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they take my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

 What a perspective!

How are we to thank God?

  • Whole-heartedly with our song (Ps.28:7).
  • Continually with our lips (Heb.13:15).
  • Generously with our gifts (Phil.4:17-19).
  • Thoughtfully with our prayers (Eph.1:16; Phil.4:5-7).
  • Reverently with our worship (Ps.95:2, 100:4).

Indy Race-Style Gratitude

Here is a typical dinnertime scene at the Lack household:

We all sit down to our kitchen table. It’s time to pray. Lack boys, start your engines! 3-2-1… “DearGod Thankyouforourfood Jesus’nameamen.” Elapsed time: 1 second.

Sometimes this frustrates me, and I find myself thinking “How thankful can you be if you can’t give God more than a second of your time before you start eating the food He has provided for us?” It does not take long, though, before the Holy Spirit convicts me of displaying the very same attitude, moreover, of modeling an Indy race-style gratitude towards God for my children. I can see a lack of gratitude in at least a few areas in my life:

In our family prayer time: Am I expressing gratitude for who God is and what Christ has accomplished on my behalf on the cross, or does my “thanksgiving” sound more like a redundant list that I repeat without much thought day after day because I am tired and in a hurry? Christ warned us about praying with vain repetition, and He urges us to cast our cares before Him “with thanksgiving.” How can I be frustrated when my unregenerate young boys seem not to express genuine gratitude towards God when I, who am a new creature in Christ, often express lukewarm thanksgiving at best?

In my speech: I have, on many occasions, chastised my sons for not being thankful for what God has provided us. Yet, what do they hear more from me—complaining about the disorderly appearance of our house, or thanksgiving for the comfortable roof over our head? Frustration with work deadlines, or gratitude for God’s faithfulness in providing me with a job? Complaining how tired I am, or gratitude for a comfortable bed and a body that has very little trouble falling and staying asleep?

If you can relate to any of what I have said, be thankful that God is infinitely forgiving, and we can come to Him at any time, in prayer, to thank Him for His forgiveness and to ask Him to help us reflect the new life that He has created in us. I also want to try this: when I find myself complaining, I will stop and think about God’s grace as it relates to the source of my complaint. Then, I will ask Him for forgiveness and thank Him. So…instead of grimacing at my floor that needs sweeping, I will seek to thank God for the floor he provided, as well as the broom and the food that produced the crumbs that need to be swept up.

My God, as I read through this confession ashamed of how poorly I can model gratitude for my children, I am thankful for Your unfailing patience with me. Though I can be woefully thankless in my speech and even in my prayers, You remain faithful. You provided Your Son to die for me, a self-centered sinner. Even my gratitude is a gift from You, and I pray that You will help me to give You the thanks You deserve.

What’s In It for Me?

As we approach this holiday season, many people will start to set their dials to their favorite radio station, WII FM (What’s In It For Me). Or for those of us west of the Mississippi, it may be KAI AM (Keep Away, It’s All Mine)! We all feel the stress of this time of year—Christians and non-Christians alike—but as Christians, we have a hope, a faith, and a love that are different from the world’s (1 Corinthians 13:13). We hope differently. We believe differently. We love differently. So what better time of year to display that hope, faith, and love than during the holidays? I’m not suggesting that shouldn’t be our disposition all year (it should!); but what a great reminder the holiday season offers us to practice what we believe.

Love wins the day and is the emphasis of 1 Corinthians 13:13. As I consider my assignment this month to blog on faith and “Thanksliving,” I’m reminded that my thankfulness is fully wrapped up in the One in whom I entrust my salvation, Jesus Christ. Instead of tuning in to WII FM, I can now tune into WGHD FM (What God Has Done For Me). Ok, I’m done with the call letters. But seriously, Thanksgiving (the holiday) is typically seen as a “day” to reflect and give thanks for all we have and to remember what God has done for us in His Son Jesus. When I think of Thanksliving, it causes me to go deeper and to think outside myself: to think of others as well. Yes, I’m thankful for what God has done for me in Christ; but let’s remember the disposition that God Himself took when He sent His Son into the World. Jesus came as a servant. He came into a world of sinners who despised Him, persecuted Him, and ultimately killed Him for doing no wrong. He came to serve them and to save them. WOW!

Because we have put our faith in Him and in what He did on our behalf, we are called to a life of Thanksliving to display our hope, faith, and love to a world that may despise us and persecute us, as some are martyred even now. But we should always be thankful and proclaim, like Asaph and the Levites, “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Then say, ‘Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us and deliver us from the nations, to give thanks to Your holy name, and glory in Your praise.’ Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting” (1 Chronicles 16:34-36).