Psalm 107:1, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever”
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”
Occasionally it is very helpful to spend a few quiet moments reflecting over our lives and to see how indebted we really are to our Heavenly Father for His goodness, mercy, grace, provision and protection over us. One such example of His care is found in the life of Corrie ten Boom, who has been an inspiration and challenge to thousands of people after World War II. People’s hearts’ were stirred and their lives changed as she told with moving simplicity concerning God’s sufficiency to meet her needs, even as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Not only was the camp filthy, but there were fleas everywhere.
Corrie’s sister Betsie, who was also imprisoned with her, insisted that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 was God’s will for them: “In everything give thanks.” But giving thanks in a flea-infested place seemed unrealistic to Corrie until she realized why the guards didn’t go into their barracks to make them stop praying and singing hymns. Simply put they wanted to avoid the fleas! So, the prisoners were free to worship and study the Bible. The fleas, yes, even the fleas were agents of grace, and something to be thankful for.
Although the word thankfulness doesn’t appear in Matthew 5:1-12 our Lord shows us what the good life is all about. Rather than emphasizing material success, Christ teaches that genuine happiness; thankfulness and prosperity begin in the heart. So, how can we say thanks in a meaningful way? Well for starters try thanking God for the trials that caused you to recognize your spiritual need, to mourn over sin, and to submit to God. Thank Him for the joys and sorrows that encouraged you to hunger after His righteousness, to show mercy, to be pure in heart, or to be a peacemaker.
Thank Him for whatever has helped you to develop the blessedness that reflects His plan for your well-being. Despite our trials, we can give thanks for God’s unfailing goodness; for His holy name; for deliverance from sin and for victory over death. Even when all joy seems gone, we can still find reasons to thank and praise God. Every believer can thank the Heavenly Father for His:
(1) Gift of Jesus Christ, who gives us eternal life.
(2) Gift of an earthly life to serve Him.
(3) Gift of each other to minister to.
Giving thanks always for all things is far removed from giving thanks sometimes for some things. However, having accepted the truth that all things work together for good to them who love God, it is fitting that thanks be rendered to God for all things (good or bad). Many years ago a magazine related the story of a young man who had a habit of grumbling. He complained about the weather, found fault with his family and friends, and allowed the smallest of things to upset him.
Then one day he read this: “When you have truly thanked the Lord for every blessing sent, then you’ll have very little time to murmur or complain.” He realized that his spirit of discontent had made him overlook the gifts God was constantly showering on him. He determined that with God’s help he would rid himself of this habit. So whenever he became irritated or began to complain, he would stop and thank God for the many good things he was enjoying. It worked! By centering his attention on praising rather than pouting, he found it much easier to avoid a grouchy mood.
As believers in Christ, we have so much for which to give thanks and to praise the Lord. Thankfulness and an attitude of gratitude ought to be the characteristic of every believer (Psalm 34:1). All of life takes on a different value when we spend our time counting our blessings rather than airing our complaints. Let’s be thankful, and if we pause to think about the abundance God has showered on us, we will discover many reasons to express our gratitude to Him. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to take God’s goodness for granted.
For example, most of us have food, clothing, and shelter. Yet in some parts of the world, even in highly developed countries, many people fight hunger, poverty, and homelessness. God in His goodness keeps on blessing us with abundance far beyond what we need or deserve. In addition to our material blessings, we as Christians receive so many spiritual blessings. How can we best express our gratitude as we think about all that God has given to us? First by maintaining a thankful spirit in everything we do.
Then by giving liberally and cheerfully of our time, money, and talent to spread the gospel and to help poor and needy people in Jesus’ name. What are some of the fleas in your life? I’ll let you answer that question; however, whether they are huge ones or petty annoyances, they are the trials from which the Lord teaches us spiritual lessons and helps to increase our growth and faith in Him.
(1) So, have you spent time today praising God for your life (the good and the bad) and
(2) Especially for the people He has placed in your life.
Thank You Lord for Your love for us. Thank you for your mercy and grace, which is new each morning. Thank you for the petty annoyances that you allow in our lives so that we may grow more in the likeness of You. Thank You for our families, friends, and above all thank You for the gift of life itself, and help us to live each day for You. For it’s in Your precious name I pray … Amen