In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
One of my spiritual mentors said that we should seriously examine ourselves if we find that we are losing our sense of gratitude. Through the years I’ve discovered this to be a wonderful measuring stick. Can my faith see God’s faithfulness and his love in all circumstances? Can I trust God to work everything for good in my life? Can I believe him to be in the middle of difficulties.
I Thessalonians 5:18 doesn’t tell us we must be thankful for all things but that we should give thanks in all sorts of circumstances and situations. When the Children of Israel were saying farewell to Joshua, he reminded them that not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel [had ever] failed; every one was fulfilled (Joshua 21:45). As we reflect on our personal Christian journeys, we can say the same—in retrospect. Why not bolster our faith for each new challenge with a reminder of what God has done and been in the past? Why wait to see his promises fulfilled?
I read about a little boy whose grandmother had promised a particular, special gift. When the expected time arrived, there was no gift and no word from grandmother. Days passed, and the boy began to think that perhaps his grandmother had forgotten her promise. The little fellow’s mother suggested that he write grandmother a thank you note as a gentle reminder. The boy did so, and by return mail, his grandmother sent her apologies with a check. She had been trying unsuccessfully to find the gift, and since she couldn’t find what she had promised, she sent a check for her grandson to use in purchasing another gift of his choosing.
Gratitude can be our way of remembering God’s faithfulness of the past while reminding God of our trust in him for the present. It’s really easy to be grateful if we’re honest and start looking outward instead of focusing on our own navels.
God, I don’t have enough paper to even begin to list your goodness to me. If all your material blessings disappeared in a puff, still I could go on thanking you. Please help me remember that every single thing I enjoy, and especially your precious Son, comes from your bounty. THANK YOU. AMEN.