Faith: Being Thankful Even When It’s Hard
I Thessalonians 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
A visiting preacher to a small country church delivered a sermon on “Gratitude.” At the conclusion of the sermon, when an offering was to be taken up for him, he said, “And remember, however small the gift, always be grateful and thankful to the Lord.”
Well, the offering was taken up, using the preacher’s hat as a “collection plate.” When the hat came back to him, the preacher looked inside: It was empty!
Seeing this, the congregation watched carefully to see if he would practice the words about “gratitude,” which he’d just preached.
He thought for a moment, then prayed, “Dear Lord, I thank thee that I got my hat back!”
Being a thankful person is not always easy. As a matter of fact, it is contrary to how a lot of people are raised. For a lot of people, because of their past, it is hard to be thankful for today or their future.
Colossians 3:14-15 says “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Verse 15 has three components. It talks about the peace of God, it talks about being part of the body, and it talks about being thankful. I believe that all these truths are connected. So, as we enjoy this holiday week called “Thanksgiving”, let me share with you three reasons from this text that we need to be thankful.
1. You can’t be peaceful if you’re not being thankful
Peace and ingratitude cannot sleep in the same bed together, nor do they fellowship in the same soul. There is something about the nature of ingratitude that keeps a person from being filled with the peace of God.
Do you enjoy hanging out with someone who is always demonstrating how ungrateful they are? Always pointing out what is wrong with everyone else but never seeing it in their own lives? I would venture to say that none of us here would deliberately choose such a person for our friend. You know who I am talking about, and some of us fall into this group at times where we have a great microscope but a horrible mirror
Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
2. You can’t be in unity if you’re not being thankful
To be in unity is to be able to rejoice and be thankful for what God is doing in someone else’s life. How do I see good in you if I can’t see good in me? It is very difficult to be in unity if I am not thankful.
Paul writes that collectively we are called to a life of peace and to live in unity as a body. As I just mentioned, we find it difficult walking in unity with people who are ungrateful.
How many of life’s issues and problems may very well be solved if we just became more thankful for what we do have and for what God is doing? How many problems at our job and in our marriages would be solved if one or both parties involved would become a little more thankful of the other.
3. You can’t be who you’re supposed to be if you’re not being thankful
Paul tags two little but powerful words to the end of verse 15 from Collossians: BE THANKFUL! It is not a suggestion he is making. It is a charge to live a thankful life.
Being thankful means that we are full of thanksgiving. There is always something to thank God for in every situation. Notice I said you can thank God regardless of the situation.
Sometimes it seems impossible to be thankful for what we are about to receive, but, moms and dads, this is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children — even during the not so good times.
Questions to ask myself: What is my first response when faced with difficulty? Am I thankful or unthankful?
May God help us to get to the place where we quickly go vertical and thank God for what we do have instead of what we don’t. How that would help us to see that God is still in charge and will take care of us.
Tony Bohrer is a pastor with the Lighthouse of Craig.
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