A Thanksgiving Thought

Food, praying and family holding hands for prayer with parents and children gathering at a dinner table at home. God, worship and grateful people with gratitude enjoy a thanksgiving meal with turkey

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19–20)

We have grown accustomed to thanking God. Many of us have memorized the Doxology, which begins, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” It is only logical that if all blessings flow from God, we thank God for everything.

There is, however, a second more challenging form of thanksgiving:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Most of us know 1 Thessalonians from words spoken by the pastor at the funeral of a loved one:

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

The Thessalonians were new Christians, on fire with the Gospel with impressive displays of faith and love. They waited anxiously for the final return of Christ to take them all to heaven. But while waiting, some of their fellow congregants had died and it made them sad.

In the midst of that heartache, they are instructed to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

Oftentimes our thanksgiving is commensurate with how we value what is happening around us. We are thankful for food on the table, a roof over our heads, and friends who are there for us. However, thankfulness seems out of place when these blessings are not there.

Throughout Scripture, we are reminded not to live like the world. Because of Christ, we have an eternal perspective. That is why Paul could write to the Philippians that he had learned contentment, whether in plenty or in want. Those are pretty incredible words, considering the fact that Paul had a rough go of it in Philippi. But his perseverance and perspective were rooted outside of anything that happened around him and to him in this world.

As the world grows progressively loveless (Matthew 24:12), as God’s children experience rejection and hatred (Luke 21:17), and as people live in the futility of seeking treasures that will not last (Matthew 6:19), you and I can be thankful. We do not need riches, success, or acceptance of our Bible-based convictions to find cause for thanksgiving. We are blessed beyond measure even in loss, hardship, and death. It is no wonder we can glory in suffering (Romans 5:3), find rest in fatigue (Matthew 11:28), and life in the face of death (John 11:25).

Happy Thanksgiving! God holds you close to him for eternity.


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