Maintain an ‘ATTITUDE’ of 'GRATITUDE' always: "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess. 5:18)
Apostle Paul has written about ‘thanksgiving’ or, about ‘giving thanks’ or, about ‘being grateful’ about 23 times, which is more than any other New Testament author. After all that God has done for our lives by sending His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into this world to die for us, it is not surprising that we should have an attitude of gratitude in our daily living. However, as we reflect on how to maintain this attitude of gratitude as part of our daily lifestyle, let us remember a few important aspects about thanksgiving:
- We should give thanks ‘in’ everything: In 1 Thess. 5:18, Apostle Paul has carefully chosen the word ‘in’ for his statement: "In everything give thanks”. This does not mean that we should give thanks ‘for’ everything – that may include matters resulting from the foolish decisions that we make or, the consequences that we face for disobeying God. Rather, we should give thanks ‘in’ everything, and in every circumstance. Why? This is because "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). We know that through it all God can use all things and every situation for our good, for His glory and for the extension of His kingdom.
- We should direct our thanks to God more than people: The reason for this is because people are gifts from God, who is the ultimate source of all our blessings. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) We know that time and time again in his letters, Apostle Paul thanked God for the grace, love, faith, patience and hope of the people of God (see 1 Cor. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:2-3).
- We should give thanks to God through Jesus Christ for everything: In the letter to the Colossians, this is what Apostle Paul mentioned: " be thankful...and whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Col. 3:15, 17). Since we have access to God through His Son Jesus Christ, we should also direct all thanks to God in and through Him alone.
Let us learn to maintain an attitude of gratitude always…for everything that God has done for us. Giving thanks to God should thus be our native intrinsic emotion. The giving of thanks in all things does not imply that all things are good. Rather, we are charged with the giving of thanks because of our confidence in the purpose and the providence of God in any and every circumstance of our lives.