During this particular time of year, a lot of time is spent in giving thanks unto God for His immeasurable generosity. He blesses each of us abundantly every day. Sometimes it is noticeable and at other times it is subtle. Yet the fact is, we ought to be giving thanks to God at all times in all things.
Years ago, while still a student at Minnesota Bible College, I was asked to speak at a small church in northern Minnesota. The Sunday I was to preach, was the week of Thanksgiving. I had never preached a "holiday" sermon at that point. It was pretty stressful trying to put together a message that had to deal with giving thanks. I found myself browsing through the concordance at the back of my Bible, looking up the words thanks, thankful, thankfulness and the like. I finally ended up in 1 Thessalonians 5. Here's what it says:
Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:16-18
This instance about giving thanks in all circumstances really caught my attention. I sat there and pondered it for quite a while. What are "all" circumstances? Boy, that could take a long time to make a list such as that. So I continued to think about as many circumstances as I could and realized, there is no way I can do that in a sermon. How could this be reduced, yet capture the full essence of the meaning? It was in a fleeting moment that a thought ran through my head, that I attribute to the Holy Spirit. All circumstances were then reduced to two things. Good & Bad.
Today, I believe this still to be very true. But the essential part of this is not that we have good and bad circumstances in life. No. It is that we are to "give thanks" in those circumstances. Thanks be to God, because no matter how quickly our circumstances may change from day to day...God is still the same. He is full of love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, patience, faithfulness and justice. We should not be caught up so much in our circumstances that we neglect to remember God is still present...still in control...still on the throne.
What are you facing right now? What is it that has captured your attention so intently that you are neglecting to give thanks to God? What is going on around you that causes you to feel like there is no hope? Are the pressures of life: job stress, economic downfall, family matters, addictions, or the political scene causing you to focus on the things of this world? It is time to refocus. As the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things." Don't let circumstances get you down. GIVE THANKS to God, for He is still worthy to receive it. And remember, it is God's will that we do so. May you be challenged to look at your current circumstances and regardless what they may be... give thanks to God.
Remember, I'm praying for you...we're all in this together.