Give Thanks in Every Situation
Categories: Pastor Dave's eNote
Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Apostle Paul writes that as people of faith, we should give thanks in every situation. In every situation? That seems like a tall order. We could say that Paul might not have been thinking clearly, or that he had lived an easy life. The truth is that Paul was one of the most respected scholars of his day. In his life of following Christ, he had suffered hunger, poverty, shipwreck, trial, beatings and prison. Yet he still encourages us to give thanks in every situation.
Why would he encourage us in that direction? After all, does it make sense to give thanks when we’re struggling financially? Is giving thanks an appropriate response when things in the family are less than perfect or when we’re not feeling well? What if this is your first Thanksgiving without a mom, or a dad or a child? What then? Why does Paul say in every situation we are to give thanks?
Quite simply, gratitude opens our hearts. Ingratitude closes the heart. Have you ever met a person who was ungrateful for what they had? They are hard to get to know. No matter what happens, life falls short. They feel cheated, angry and then they pull away. Sometimes such people require a lot of grace on our part.
On the other hand, thankful people are most often open hearted people. No matter what is happening around them, there is calm and a peace that sustains them. There is a graciousness to them, and they connect well. Gratitude opens the heart. This is why God calls us to give thanks in all things. God has a specific purpose for thankfulness. When we are thankful, we become more aware of His presence and more motivated to seek His purpose. Thankfulness teaches us to trust God, to build our faith, and to recognize our dependence upon Him. As we learned the Living Generously series, the Lord is our strong tower. It is not people, it is not the church, it is not the government – only God is worthy of our dependence.
This Thanksgiving I’ll be in Caseras, Honduras. That night we will gather for Thanksgiving Dinner. They will serve us Honduran turkey, which tastes a lot like chicken. We’ll all share what we are thankful for. I would like to let you know what I will be thankful for this year – It is you!
I thank you for your generosity, your spirit and your support as we continue our mission as a church to share God’s Word and love in our church, our community and the world. I truly appreciate each and every Living Generously Estimate of Giving that has been made this year. Your faithfulness and prayers fuel the growth of our church and make Hamilton Mill UMC such a wonderful place to grow and serve God. My prayer is that we all will Live Generous Lives and let our light shine, so that others may find the light and the message that it offers. Thank you for just being you, and making our church “a place where people matter.”
Dr. David L. Davis