In Everything Give Thanks (I Thessalonians 5:18)
Corrie ten Boom in the Hiding Place relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. On entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea- infested. That morning, their Scripture reading in I Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted, and Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings. During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference. It was not until several months later that they learned the reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas.
It is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything. Thanks is appreciation or gratitude voiced from our lips and hearts. It is not easy to be thankful for what we do not like, but this is the will of God. Thanks in this context means to be grateful and to express gratitude.
This is a difficult command but a divine command. Scripture says to give thanks “in” everything; “not for” everything. It includes good things and bad things, joys and sorrows, gains and losses, hurts and health, good news and bad news. In everything give thanks! At all times, in all circumstances, give thanks to God. We don’t have to be thankful for our trials. But we can be thankful in them since we know the Lord is going to use it for our good in the future.
Saying “thank you“ should be an everyday occurrence. A grateful heart is shown through grateful lips. A person who is truly thankful cannot help but to express it. Expressing gratitude for all that God has done for us through Christ should be one of the continuous character traits of all Christians (Ephesians 5:20). This kind of gracious attitude will cause the believer to stand out in his or her setting and be a good example for Christ.
In our praise to God we are to rejoice always and we are to give thanks in everything. God commands His people to give thanks to Him! We should give God praise, honor, and glory because of what He has given to us. An evergreen is always green despite the changes in weather around it. It is green in the heat of summer as well as the cold of winter. So also our lives are to be characterized by an enduring thankfulness that is unaffected by the changes around us. When the heat of a pressured week or the deadly cold of pain strikes us, we should stand ‘ever green,' always thankful, regardless of that which surrounds us. For Christians there is no situation in which we cannot give thanks. Even in affliction we are more than conquerors as the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us. A life of prayer and devotion leads to a thankful heart.
One preacher well said, “We can worship the Lord without words, but we cannot praise Him without words. ” He demands our praise and He deserves our praise. Thirteen years before his conversion, John Wesley had a conversation one night with a porter of his college that impressed Wesley that there was more to Christianity than he had found. The porter had only one coat. He had eaten no food that day and yet his heart was full of gratitude to God. Wesley said to him, “You thank God when you have nothing to wear, nothing to eat, and no bed to lie upon? What else do you thank him for?” “I thank Him,” answered the porter, “that He has given me my life and being, and a heart to love Him, and a desire to serve Him.”
Questions to Consider:
Points to Ponder:
PRAYER: Father, Your Word says to always give thanks and to give thanks for everything. Without Your help, that is impossible. Forgive me for all the times that I worry about my situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.