Every year, on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving Day, our congregation gathers to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. And, while we seek to be in a mind of praise and thankfulness EVERY day, there’s something about this particular evening that sharpens that focus.
It is truly a time of praise, worship, and thanksgiving.
This particular Tuesday evening, our Pastor delivered a message on “The Power of Giving Thanks“. It will change MY life forever, and from the heart, I would like to share his thoughts with you.
Giving thanks….It’s something that some people never seem to do regardless of the situation. A particular gift, talent, accomplishment, or recognition of efforts never seems to be enough, and their focus is always on “more”.
Others, of course, are quick to give thanks …IF things are going well. It could be a job, monetary gain, the birth of a child or grandchild. Or it could be my personal favorite: giving thanks when one has narrowly avoided some negative fate. For example: “Thank God I got away with ______”, or, maybe somehow fate bypassed them and found some other ‘victim‘: “Man! I’m glad that wasn’t ME!”
Yet I ask: How many of us give thanks …in every situation?
I Thessalonians, Chapter 5, Verse 18 (KJV) exhorts us…
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”
You’ll notice, it didn’t say “some” things, or a “few” things, or even “most” things. No, it reminds us to give thanks in “every” thing.
For many, the thought of being “thankful” in all things is just not a natural act; I get that. After all, it’s hard to see only a problem, and yet be thankful for that problem.
But FAITH doesn’t focus on the problem; it focuses on the solution to the problem. And I can tell you that therein lies the wonderful difference, and one that I pray that I/we will all learn and practice.
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 11, verses 1 -44, you will read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It goes something like this:
Lazarus is sick. Lazarus dies. Along the way, you have Martha and Mary weeping over their lost loved one; a group who questions why Jesus, who could open the eyes of the blind could not save Lazarus from his sickness in the first place; Jesus groaning over their apparent lack of faith; and finally, His exhortation to Martha: “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, KJV)
And, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
If one were to focus only on the sickness and the death, there would seem to be little cause to be thankful. Yet, when Jesus heard of Lazarus’ illness it tells us in John 11:4 (KJV):
“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
Regardless of the “problem” or “problems” that challenge us every day, try approaching them with a heartfelt attitude of: “Lord, I thank you for this situation, because it is not unto any negative outcome, but for the Glory of God”:
In sickness, there is healing.
In loss, there is gain.
In emotional pain, there is recovery.
In death, there is life.
It is the thanks I now know to give: for although I lost my precious 16-year-old daughter a little over 4 years ago, to the glory of God & the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I will see her again….
And that is something to be thankful for, my dear friends.
Again….FAITH doesn’t focus on the problem; it focuses on the solution to the problem.
And so I remind myself, daily: May my spirit of thanksgiving also be daily and ongoing as I continue to develop a true “attitude of gratitude“.
God Bless us All.