We are told in Scripture, “In everything give thanks.” It is a decree from God, recorded by Paul. It is a divine expectation.
The psalmist says: “It is good to give thanks to the LORD ” (Psalm 92 :1).
Psalm 100:4 says: “Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
Psalm 103: 1-5 says: “Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, wbo heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
God has given us ample reasons to thank Him.
In fact, the Bible goes so far as to say that it is evil not to thank God. Paul says in Romans 1:21 that unrighteous men “did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
God is the entity that is the most taken for granted in the universe. There is absolutely nothing we can do that is not dependent on Him. Every breath we take depends on Him to provide the oxygen as well as to make our lungs work. Everything we have is supplied by a source beyond us. The money in our wallets was printed from the paper from trees that God made in the ground that He owns. The cars we drive were fitted together from the metal that God placed in the earth. The gold jewelry we wear around our necks or wrists or fingers is from a deposit God provided. Scripture says over and over that God is the source of all good things, so we know He doesn’t want us to forget the fact that He gave us everything we have. It is all His. Yet we are all ungrateful at times, unhappy with what we have and wanting more of what we don’t have. These attitudes prevent us from focusing on God’s graciousness.
As I get older in life, I realize how many things I used to take for granted that I don’t take for granted so much anymore. I spent the entire day yesterday at my annual physical at the Cooper Clinic for my doctor, Dr. Cooper, to analyze, test, prod, probe and discover whether my body is functioning as it should, or if I need to make adjustments in my lifestyle or even in my schedule. Some of you may be in the same boat as me. You may be joining the group of us who are aging faster than we thought we ever would. Some of you may not be there just yet – but, hang on, because you will be here one day. We forget to be thankful for what we have when we take it for granted. This leaves us open to complaining more than we should and focusing on what we don’t have rather than being grateful for what we do.
God says to give thanks in everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give thanks FOR everything. You don’t need to give thanks FOR that bad day. Or FOR that bad relationship. Or being passed over at work. Financial hardship. Whatever it is – you are not to give thanks FOR the difficulties, but rather IN the difficulties. That is a very important distinction, and one I think we often miss. Giving thanks IN everything shows a heart of faith that God is bigger than the difficulties and that He can use them, if you approach Him with the right heart and spirit, for your good and His glory.
It’s hard to give thanks FOR everything – and because it is, we often skip over it. But when you realize you are not called to give thanks FOR everything but rather IN everything – you are on your way to living the victorious Christian life.
Do me a favor? Say a pray of thanks right now. And I’ll thank God for you!