Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [1 Thessalonians 5:18]
My pastor shared about why we give celebrate thanksgiving today, and shared a poem with us,
‘I am thankful for…
…for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means I am alive.
…for the taxes that I pay, because it means that I am employed.
…for the teen-ager who is complaining about doing dishes, because he is at home and not on the streets.
…for the mess to clean up after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
…for the lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means that I can hear.
…for my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.’ [excerpted]
We give thanks to God because of who He is, because He is good. Sometimes we lose sight of that, when our lives just become consumed with all these insignificant little details like having to wake up and go to school or having to pay bills. God’s will is for us to be thankful in all circumstances, not just for the circumstance. This is why we can give thanks and rejoice always, because our thankfulness is a genuine reflection of the reality that we choose to recognize, as we choose to recognize that God’s grace and His mercy are what we see in our lives.
He also told us a story about a medical missionary who was curing the people in a region of progressive blindness, which was highly prevalent in the area. After being cured, the people never said ‘thank you,’ because there was no word for that in their language. But what they said afterwards each time to the missionary was far more important – they said to him, ‘I will tell your name,’ which was their equivalent of a ‘thank you.’ When we’re grateful, we tell others of the goodness and kindness we received and who we received it from, rather than merely focusing on the deed itself.
Our society has twisted thanksgiving into only occurring when someone does something for us, but thanksgiving is something we constantly practice, regardless of what’s happening in our lives and how we feel about it. Good things that happen in our lives remind us of God’s goodness, but are not the basis for giving thanks. We must be even more diligent to give thanks when our hearts are complaining and we don’t understand why things are happening to us; God always gives us what we actually need and would ask for anyway if we knew everything He does about our lives. Take for example a beautiful Persian rug. The underside is a mess because of all the stitching, and that’s the perspective we have on our lives – just one big mess, unable to see the bigger picture. But God looks from above and sees the beauty of the rug. We just have to trust that He knows best and isn’t indifferent to our suffering.
I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide. But I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide. ‘Cause you know just what we need before we say a word. You’re a good good father. It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are. And I’m loved by you. It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am. Because you are perfect in all of your ways. You are perfect in all of your ways. You are perfect in all of your ways to us. [‘Good Good Father’ – Housefires]