“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
We are engrained from childhood to say thank you when someone gives us something, whether food, or a toy, or a gift. It’s not difficult to be grateful when the gift is something we want or like or that brings us pleasure or benefits us in some way. But scripture outlines a whole new, radical approach to gratitude from Christ followers. It’s pretty simple. Give thanks in all circumstances.
Wait, all circumstances? As in…A-L-L all?
Yes! This is God’s will for us. And this doesn’t come as a suggestion, but a command. Give thanks. Period. That’s it!
But how is that even possible? What about illness and death and job loss and people doing hurtful things and all this brokenness around us?
Yes, even then. When Christ is the one we follow and God is the one on whom we train our focus, then there is always that one thing for which to be thankful. Because we serve a living, all-powerful God who cares, we can give thanks.
God never promised that following Him would be easy or that He would magically make life sweet for us, but He did promise never to leave us nor to forsake us (Joshua 1:5). He is but a heartbeat and breath’s cry away. So, yes, for this we can give thanks in all circumstances.
Are you a grateful person? Gratitude is a learned habit and becomes more natural with practice. Go around the table at mealtime and have everyone say Thank you, Jesus for one thing. Get in the habit of writing thank you notes to people. Keep a running list of things for which you are grateful throughout the day.
List out all of the blessings in your lives and thank God individually for them.