1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5 looks like a bullet list of instruction to the church. Quench not the Spirit. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. Receive prophesies and more. Then comes the above instruction in verse 18. I’ve often been asked about the “Will of God” and what it means to the individual. Often people want the Will of God to be subjective and relevant. We like specifics in order to unmask the murky generalities of loving the Lord and loving people. The scripture speaks in clear terms and here it is: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
According to the scripture, there are no conditions where we are absolved from giving thanks. There is no sickness, crisis, valley, or trial that can remove us from obligation of giving thanks. I understand the season of Thanksgiving. I’m concerned that if we don’t understand the Will of God for our lives, we will become nothing more than just seasonal saints. “We are not of this world; we are of God,” so writes the Apostle John. This means that January through December we are giving thanks. It means that we are neither conditioned nor directed by the calendar of our secular society.
Enter Job. News of his loss has culminated with the death of his children. Every material possession has been stolen or burned. It’s all gone. Job arises and in sorrow he tears his clothes and falls to the ground. Reality is a daunting scene. The cumulative tragedies could not be covered, but the next line says this: “he worshiped and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. Job 1:21-22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Giving thanks and blessing the Lord is easy when things are going well. Saying ‘Thank You’ is a pleasantry shared at the event of gain, but try to be thankful when you are shrouded in pain and confusion. It will take effort. When life is not so agreeable, the task will demand a mental focus and a disciplined heart. Paul said, “In everything give thanks.” This is the Will of God for our lives. In everything, we should give thanks, which includes every high and low. Everything is the totality of life, not just the intersection of blessing. When it’s not so easy to give thanks, remember that sometimes praise and thanks is a sacrifice.
Hebrew 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole