November 22, 2017
Thanks—giving, living, grieving
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Even as we focus on Thanksgiving this week, we are tempted to give thanks in a limited way and for limited blessings. But we can truly give thanks in many ways for many things.
Thanks-giving is a verbal expression of gratitude. We give it in prayers, words to friends, and in hymns. By giving thanks we show that we are aware of a certain kindness from others and blessings from God. No doubt, it is a good and proper thing to give thanks, not only for your sake, but also to encourage the person you are thanking.
But giving thanks is more than words. It permeates and flows out of our everyday life. Thanks-living expresses gratitude through our actions, our attitudes, and assumptions. We live out our gratitude when we gladly share our blessings with others and cherish them in the way we use them, when we express a joy over even the smallest of blessings rather than look at our negative circumstances, and when we do not take them for granted or assume that we deserve them.
Even when life causes us grief, we can be grateful. Thanks-grieving happens when we can know that a problem is making us more reliant on God or other people, when it moves us to deeper faith, and when we understand that it is shaping our character to be more Christ-like. Ultimately, with our eyes on the final prize, we can give thanks that whatever suffering we endure in this life is temporary. For God’s people there is no comparison in this life to the glory that will be revealed in the life to come. It is with this bold promise that Paul could claim that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. His confidence was rooted in the promise that since God did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all, we can be assured that He will spare no other good thing for those who trust in Him.
In words, in actions, in trials, in all things and every circumstance, let us give thanks.
Blessed Thanksgiving to All