“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
As I write this Hurricane Ian is bearing down furiously on the Florida coast. There will undoubtedly be vast destruction of property and infrastructure, loss of livelihood and life. How can Floridians, or anyone, ‘give thanks’ in such circumstances? Notably, Paul’s instruction is not ‘for’ all circumstances but ‘in’ all circumstances. We are not to pretend something destructive is good. Rather, we are to express thanks to God for his goodness, mercy and provision even in the midst of trial. Essentially, it’s a radical means of expressing our trust in God.
Gratitude always implies a certain amount of humility. If someone does something for us, or gives us something, we thank them (or we should!). We realize and admit the contribution of others and thus take the focus away from ourselves. Arrogance, the opposite of humility, leads us toward self-sufficiency and a lack of appreciation for others. Gratitude to God is appropriate since we are in truth anything but self-sufficient and entirely dependent on his power and grace for all our needs.
Those of us who profess faith in Jesus are called into a further reason for thanksgiving. We are not only thankful for the harvest, for health and for home. We give thanks that in Jesus God has taken our form, suffered death for our forgiveness and conquered death so that we might live forever. With all of this in mind let us join together on Thanksgiving Sunday, October 9th, to share in the bread and cup of thanks. Hope to see you then!
In Christ’s love,