Friday, November 1, 2019
1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
As we begin the month of November, it’s time to start being grateful for all the blessings God has given you and me. As much as we want to be thankful at all times, want to be known as a positive, half-full kind of person, the reality is that too often, we find ourselves stuck in a complaining, petulant attitude. We realize how we are judging another person, as if to elevate ourselves for our “superior” moral attributes or more efficient way of doing things. Sound familiar?
This passage today is part of Paul’s final instructions to the people of Thessalonica. They, like us, need these reminders to keep us on right paths following our savior. First, Paul reminds us to be joyful. Not all of us are naturally blessed to have a happy-go-lucky attitude about life. Some of us have to work at it. Maybe it helps you to compile a list of reasons to be happy. I think finding ways to rejoice is also to give God thanks. The two belong together.
When we are constant in prayer, taking time each day to be in fellowship with God through prayer, this becomes another opportunity to praise God, rejoice and give thanks. Yes, there are times when we are grappling with a problem, when we need help. But even then we may give thanks, to realize again how God listens to us, is present with us, loves us and wants us to grow in character through whatever crisis we face.
Paul says to give thanks in all circumstances. Key for me is realizing that though we cannot give thanks for a hardship or trauma, we can give thanks that God does not desert us in our time of need. Give thanks if we find unexpected help, that we are stronger than we thought, or that good came out of a difficult time.
This is God’s will, that we should turn to him to find the resources we need to take us through tough times as well as happy ones. There are always reasons to give God thanks, if we are willing to give our lives to the Lord and follow God’s will.
Gracious God, let me not hold back from you, but give you all the circumstances of my life. Let me submit to your will for me in the good times along with the hard ones. Then I will know how much you love me and wish to guide me to draw ever nearer to you. Giving thanks can be tough when life is not going the way I want it. But your will is larger than mine, and your vision more complete than mine. So I will rejoice and be glad, thankful to be called your son or daughter, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.