Be Thankful for Everything

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.   And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phi 4:4-7

On November 22, we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  This is one day in the year which we in America take time to give thanks for all the good things we have and have experienced.  My wife Linda and I, along with our son Christiaan will be spending this time with my wife’s family, enjoying each other’s company and, of course, a great turkey feast.  Immediately after the meal, we all come together and, going from the youngest to the oldest, share with each other what we are thankful for.  This is a Bossio family tradition.  And we look forward to this time every year.  The children always have an interesting perspective on what they are thankful for.  There are some who take this time to be humorous, but always ending on a serious note.  Many of the sisters cry during this time, as they share how thankful they are for each other and the family times they had growing up in South Florida.  And what always happens, which is a good thing, God is in the center of it all, along with the salvation He has provided for us.

Now, as great as these times are, we must always remember that it is not just the perceived good things that we are to be thankful for, but all the other stuff as well.  To bring more clarity to this point, I offer the following scriptures.

  • Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  • Philippians 4:11 – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
  • Ephesians 5:15-21 –  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (emphasis added)

Let us focus on these three verses for the remainder of this post, looking at what it truly means to be thankful.

We as Christians can be assured that no matter what we go through, a good will come from it.  This is hard to see sometimes.  For instance, how can a good come out of a failed business?  This happened to me.  I had my own business as a Corporate Computer Consultant.  We were making a lot of money, but that money was becoming more of a focus in our lives than it should.  After 9/11, businesses were letting go of all their consultants, then the larger consulting firms offered significantly lower rates for exclusive contracts.  I could not get any work, so I held on for a while and after nine months, got a contract for one-third my normal rate.  Then I started having eye problems, and with all this, I ended up having to shut my business down and go full time with a former client.  You may ask; how was this good?  Suddenly, our focus was not the money, but each other.  We had to begin to truly rely on God, rather than on my contracts.  We all began to draw closer to God and each other.  This was the good God intended for this situation.  What Paul is saying here is that we need to be thankful for all situations we find ourselves in, because God will bring a good out of it.  And if we are truly thankful for all things, we can be content.  Just as Paul and Silas worshipped and praised God while in a dark and dank prison, we must be willing to praise God in the midst of our difficult times.  Remember, Paul and Silas had the opportunity to preach the gospel to the jailer and his family.  Who knows what good your situation will bring!  Therefore, we must not focus on the difficulty of our situation, but on the prospect of God working through us for His glory.  For God may not cause the situation, but He allows it to happen, and we must trust that He will be with us and work through us.  We must be thankful in ALL things, not necessarily for the hardship or suffering, but for the incredible good He has promised us because of what He has allowed.

We read in the Psalms the following, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his ways” Ps 37:23. Our lives are already established by God.  All we need to do is live this life, trusting that God knows what He is doing, and thanking Him for all He does.  We cannot be distracted by what is around us or what the enemy puts in our path.  Peter did that when he walked on water and, taking his eyes off Christ, began to sink. 

God is perfect goodness and perfect love.  Because He is, he will only do that which is in our and others ultimate good.  We do not always see that, but we must trust that He is faithful to guide us in the path that is best for us.  And no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we should be thankful that God has brought us where He wants us.  And even in our rebellious state, He can turn our foolishness into something that will be of benefit to us and others. 

So, as we approach this Thanksgiving, let’s remember that we should be thankful for everything, absolutely everything.  And this thankfulness should not be relegated to Thanksgiving day only, but it should permeate our lives every moment of the year.  Even though it may not appear to be a good thing, it will end up being good because God promised it would.  However, we must see things from God’s perspective.  When we do this, we will see all the good God is doing, and will be content knowing He is sovereign and the giver of good gifts to His children. 

May you and your family have a glorious Thanksgiving Day, and may you enjoy your time with family and friends, remembering and focusing on the goodness and love of God Almighty.

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