This week it’s Thanksgiving here in the USA, so this week it’s popular to do something like a daily blog about “One Thing for which We are Thankful” or a list of “Things for which We are Thankful”…but I’m going to make one short blog about I Thessalonians 5:18.
The image above rearranges the words a little, but in the King James version, that verse says “In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.” The word I want to think about today is EVERYTHING.
Here in the USA we’ve been taught that God wants us to be rich and successful, and that if we are are wealthy and prosperous, that we are to “pray for it” and God will grant us the desires of our hearts. But I’ll be blunt–that’s just plain false. The Bible doesn’t promise christians anywhere that they will have lots of money, lots of possessions, or a life of joy and ease! In fact, the Bible does tell us that we will be 100% DIFFERENT from the world and our whole world-view will be so contradictory to the natural, sinful inclination that it will be like a candle in a dark room–shining light on people who would rather slink in the dark and have their sin hidden.
The desire of our heart, if we are elect Christian children of the most high God, will be one thing: that God’s Will be done. Period. Sometimes His will requires us to be tested until death–do you thing that’s “prosperous and joyful”? Sometimes His will means giving up all our possessions and giving them to HIM. Sometimes His will means to be humble and serve OTHERS–does that sound like the vending machine God you’ve been taught about? And sometimes His will means that we need to go through trials in order to grow more like Him and love HIM. Does “trials” sound like the U.S. idea of success and wealth? NO!!
And here, in I Thessalonians 5:18, God is very clear. It is His will that we give thanks in EVERYTHING. The term “everything” is all inclusive–it does not leave room for “some thing but not others.” So it is God’s will for us to give thanks when things are hard…when it hurts…when it’s not easy…when we are poor…when we are struggling…when we fail…when life is not what we want.
Rather than making a list this week of all the things for which we are thankful, let’s do this. Let’s answer these questions:
- What is REALLY hard for you? Give thanks for that.
- What is REALLY painful? Give thanks for that.
- What has hurt you? Give thanks for that.
- Are you poor? Give thanks for that.
- Are you ill or in poor health? Give thanks for that.
- What are you struggling with? Give thanks for that.
- What have you failed at recently? Give thanks for that.
Those of us who have lived through an affair realize that when it’s first discovered, the pain is so deep and unbearable that the idea of giving thanks is unthinkable! How could you POSSIBLY give thanks for that? Well, I’ll tell you how: God loves you enough to want you to grow in HIM and He just gave you a big, old lesson to learn to lean on Him and not your spouse or yourself.
Those of us who have committed adultery realize that when you end the affair and choose to reconcile, the guilt and shame are so deep and unbearable that the idea of giving thanks is unthinkable! How could you POSSIBLY give thanks for that? Well, I’ll tell you how: God love you enough to want you to grow in HIM and He just gave you a big, old lesson to learn to take the focus off yourself and put the focus on HIM and humbly serving others.
So what do you give thanks for this week?