Pastor Brian Wiebe
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:18
I can easily say I have lots to be thankful for. I’m happily married, raising great kids, we’re healthy, employed and snugly housed. Compared to so many we are exceedingly provided for. At the moment, we aren’t digging out from a natural disaster or seeking refuge from a raging war. At home and abroad, we don’t need to look very far to see the terrible and terrifying circumstances many are in.
For most of us, thankfulness is learned. We teach children to say “thank you” early on, but we find ourselves as parents teaching it again and again. Even as an adult, I find I need to be reminded to express gratitude. I wonder why that is?
Do I forget to give thanks because of an attitude of entitlement, as though all that I have was somehow owed to me? In that case no thanks are needed. Or perhaps we misunderstand the purpose of giving thanks, in that sometimes we consider thankfulness our payment for what we have received.
But it’s not a payment owed, as though by expressing gratitude I can somehow repay a debt. We’ve heard it, and maybe said it, something like, “I did all this for you, the least you can do is say ‘thanks’”. I’m so glad my Heavenly Father doesn’t say that!
The beauty of thankfulness is that it is NOT owed, but it is freely given. That means my gratitude is not because I’m blessed, but because I’m grateful. I’m to thank God not because of WHAT he’s done, but because of WHO he is. That’s why Paul wanted his readers to give thanks IN the circumstances, not FOR the circumstances or because of them.
We have lots of reasons to be thankful this season, but most of all, because we have the security of a Heavenly Father who loves us and welcomes our gratitude.