“In every thing give thanks; for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"
(1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Thanksgiving: A time to remember how
blessed we are. Images from our history
books of pilgrims and Indians sharing the
harvest come to mind. Pictures of kin
coming from distant places to gather around
the family table sharing turkey and pumpkin
pie. Christmas shopping the day after
Thanksgiving. Traditions we cherish, hold
onto and preserve year after year.
It is wonderful that we have this special
day to give thanks with family and friends
in loving fellowship, bringing everyone up
to date on our separate lives, renewing old
friendships and creating new ones; but it
should not end on the following Friday.
Giving thanks is not a once-a-year holiday.
It is meant to be a “24/7” happening.
When every “thing” is coming up roses, it is
so easy to give thanks. Typically though,
we don’t always remember to give thanks in
good times; and we are usually in a state of
taking the roses for granted, until the
thorns prick our thankful skin. It’s then
that thanksgiving sloughs off and we begin
to question and complain. We wonder how we
can be thankful for the pricking.
We need to take another look at what Paul
wrote to those in Thessalonica: IN
everything, not for everything.
Therein is a great difference. Looking
back in hindsight, often we can give thanks
FOR something that actually brought us
blessings in the end, though it was painful
at the time; but while we were “in” it, we
"It is good for me that I have been
afflicted, that I might learn thy statues.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me than
thousands of gold and silver" (Psalm
The “secret” of giving thanks “in”
everything is as simple as “Trust.”
Simple child-like trust while we are “in”
something will enable us to give thanks
while it is happening, because we know that
“all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
After a trial or time of testing has ended,
after a desperate prayer has been answered,
after the thing we most feared has not
occurred, we are full of thanksgiving.
However, if we are to live a victorious
life, we must learn how to be able to “give
thanks in every thing.” We have a
well of joy that we can draw on; it is a
component of the Fruit of the Spirit and a
permanent resident. While we may not be
“happy” all the time, we can be filled with
the joy of the Lord. Being happy depends
on our environment, but joy depends on the
presence of the Holy Ghost.
Paul knew about the joy. He wrote to the
Corinthian church of his experiences—
“Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I
stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night
and a day I have been in the deep; In
journeyings often, in perils of waters, in
perils of robbers, in perils by mine own
countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in
perils in the city, in perils in the
wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils
among false brethren, In weariness and
painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and
nakedness. Beside those things that are
without, that which cometh upon me daily,
the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians
He didn’t end there; he went on to tell of
other “misadventures,” even being let down
the wall through a window to escape those
who sought to kill him because he was
following God’s call. But he said he was
not weak or angry. Why was that? He drew
on his well of joy and the knowledge that he
could trust God—“…for I know whom I have
believed, and am persuaded that he is able
to keep that which I have committed unto him
against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Like Nehemiah, Paul knew that the “joy of
the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
He spent his life establishing churches and
encouraging them to be faithful—and to
He wrote to Titus (3:5), "And ye became
followers of us and of the Lord, having
received the word in much affliction, with
joy of the Holy Ghost."
While in a Roman prison far away from the
churches he was nurturing by prayer and
letters, he continued to minister to those
around him. He didn’t just carry his
parchments (Bible) around with him, it was
who he was; his internal person was consumed
with thankfulness for his salvation and
never stopped having revival wherever he
But, you say, that was Paul; this is me.
Does that weaken God? Does that dilute the
power of the Holy Ghost? The same God that
Paul had is our God. We are “those afar
off” who were promised the Holy Ghost. “Ye
are of God, little children, and have
overcome them: because greater is he that
is in you, than he that is in the world” (1
David, while pursued by his enemies, wrote
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom
shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my
life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm
27:1). He knew about the “joy of the
Lord.” He declared that even if a host of
his enemies set up camp against him, his
heart would not fear. In the time of
trouble, he knew that God would protect him
(v3, 5). Not only did he trust God for
protection, he added, “…I will offer in his
tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing,
yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord”
David had so much confidence in the Lord
that he esteemed His care above that of his
parents. “When my father and my mother
forsake me, then the Lord will take me up”
(v 10). This didn’t mean he doubted or
parents’ care; it just emphasized how great
was his trust in the Lord.
It would be nice and give us a warm, fuzzy
feeling if our kids would actively and
verbally be thankful for the care they get
from their parents, for food, shelter, all
we can afford to make life good for them.
But most of the time, they want more: more
freedom to pursue their own interests, money
without responsibility, cars, gadgets, their
own “private” cell phone, etc. Before we
respond about those demands, let us look at
our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Do we have a thankful heart for what the
Psalmist called His “many benefits”? Are we
content with such things as we have that He
has provided? Are we content with
essentials? Are we are always pursuing
more, building bigger barns and, worse,
forgetting to be thankful for what we have?
Even nature praises God, in its own way.
Birds sing, flowers bloom, trees bear fruit
and even the heavens declare the glory of
God. “Let every thing that hath breath
praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm
150:6). The animal kingdom has breath; fish
have gills to breath; even plants need
oxygen to survive; and in their own way they
praise God—consistently! We “aerate”
(cultivate) the soil so it can praise God
Where is thankful mankind? Are we going to
allow the rocks to cry out while we forget
to be thankful?
Jesus said, “I tell you that, if these
should hold their peace, the stones would
immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).
Why not let this Thanksgiving Day be the new
beginning of an Era of Thanksgiving? Let us
not wait for the rose to bloom, for good
times to roll in, for every prayer answered
to our satisfaction. Don’t wait for January
1 to make a firm resolution to be more
thankful and begin an epidemic of “attitude
of gratitude.” I believe that God would be
thankful if He could see this happen. I
just believe it would bring a smile and
result in more blooming roses, more good
times and more answered prayers.
“Let every thing that hath breath praise the
We mustn’t let the “stones cry out” our