“…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
Growing up whenever someone would give me a present, say a kind word or give me a compliment, my parents would always say, “Now Brett, what do you say?” Of course, it was to beckon that proper response of “Thank you!” I’m grateful for parents who taught me the value of being courteous and respectful toward others. Unfortunately, it seems that is quickly becoming a lost art. Football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once said, “If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable."
Certainly, southern hospitality exists and chivalry is not dead. That being said, Christians should be the most kind, considerate and courteous people on the planet. In fact, Christians should be the most grateful and thankful. Think about it: in Christ, we have been given every spiritual blessing and promised an inheritance that far outweighs anything this world can offer. If God does nothing else He’s already done everything!
Paul encouraged the believers in Thessalonica to give thanks in everything – in all circumstances and at all times. I don’t know about you, but that’s a tall order! He doesn’t stop there, but goes on to say that it’s God’s will for us to give thanks. In other words, having hearts of thanksgiving – possessing an attitude of gratitude – is not an option for the Christian; it’s an obligation. It is God’s good and perfect will for us to give thanks. To say it another way, giving thanks brings honor and glory to God. Circumstances of life don’t dictate God’s character or modify God’s truth – He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
There are many different thoughts and emotions that flood our hearts and minds as we consider the fast-approaching holiday season. For some of us, this will be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without a loved one. An empty chair around the table will give evidence of the void. Family drama seems to heighten when families gather under the same roof. Perhaps, it’s in part, because we’re more spatially aware of strained and broken relationships. We see extended family members and deal with challenges that we generally don’t have to deal with throughout the year. Think of those challenges as “sanctifiers.” God desires to use those situations to grow your faith and make you more like Jesus.
Know this, no family is perfect. We are all broken people and when we live together in community, the brokenness often becomes more visible. So, when those moments come – give thanks. Remember God’s goodness and be a conduit for His mercy and grace to flow through you. In everything give thanks. Why? Because it’s God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
I thank God for my family. I thank God for my Green Hill Family. Let’s give thanks together.