Thankful in all Circumstances

 

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28       

Do you consider yourself a thankful person?  Do the circumstances or your situation dictate how thankful you are?  I would imagine that all of us have moments in which we are more thankful than at other times, but what if we could truly be thankful in all circumstances as Paul encourages the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?  This doesn’t mean that we are thankful for everything that happens in our lives or in our world, but in the midst of those difficult things we can still find many things to be thankful for.

Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Many times this attitude of thankfulness can be accomplished by how we choose to see things.  Do we choose to see the good or look for the negative?  Sheridan Voysey shares a good example of this with a story in “Our Daily Bread” about road trips in Australia.  He says that those trips can often be very long with few towns in between.

During busy vacation seasons rest stops are set up along the way with volunteers offering free coffee and other items for sale.  Sheridan tells about one trip where he and his wife pulled up and walked over to the stand to get their free coffee.  The person in charge handed him two cups of coffee and asked for two dollars.  He thought the coffee was free so he was somewhat confused by this.  At that point his wife pointed to the sign that said only the driver got free coffee.

He went on to inform the lady that he thought this was a case of false advertising.  When they got back to the car his wife pointed something out to him.  He had turned a gift into an entitlement.  In the end it caused him to be ungrateful for the free coffee that he had received.  When I read that story I thought of how many times we find ourselves in that exact situation.  Our unthankfulness often leads us to look past the many things we have to be thankful for.

Life is hard and the world is not always a rose garden.  But no matter what we might face today or tomorrow there are surely many, many things we can be thankful for.  Paul says that God’s will for us is to keep these things we are thankful for always on our mind.  In the end they can help us to move past the difficult and trying times in our life.  As it says in 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

Make it Personal: 

 Make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for.  The next time you are tempted to be ungrateful, pull out that list and remind yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for.  It’s not always easy to be thankful in all circumstances, but it can sure make the hard times a lot better.  As it says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, do it all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father.”
 
Have a grateful heart this week,  
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church