Thankful

by Bryant Evans on November 21, 2010

In case it is slipping up on you please take note. Thursday is Thanksgiving. Life seems so busy. It’s a little embarrassing that we need a special day to be thankful but it does serve a purpose. As he ended his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul had these words, emphasis is min:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

It is not always easy to be thankful. Many of the struggles you faced this week may tend to push you more toward complaining and away from thankfulness. How can a man be thankful when his job is about to end? How can a woman be thankful when her husband no longer pays honor to her? How can children be thankful when it seems their world is collapsing because of divorce? It’s hard. But Paul called on us to be thankful in all circumstances – not just the easy ones.

Horatio Spafford was a Chicago attorney. His 4 year old son died, later his business was almost destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. He soon planned a vacation to Europe with his family but was forced to stay behind to deal with business related to the fire. As his family crossed the Atlantic ahead of him on a French steamship,  the vessel collided with another and rapidly sank. Spafford then penned the immortal words to the song we sing “It Is Well With My Soul.” That song does not contain the word “thanks” or “thankful” but it is clearly a song of thanksgiving. In spite of his terrible circumstances Spafford thanks God for the following:

1.       The blood of Jesus;

2.       Salvation

3.       Peace from God

4.       The hope of redemption

5.       The return of Jesus

Horatio Spafford found peace and the power to be thankful in the darkest of nights.

We should learn a lesson from Spafford: Give thanks in all things for God is worthy of praise and thanksgiving. Paul said it another way:

“And let the peace of Christ rule in  your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs , with thanksgiving in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him” (Colossians 3:15-18).

Three times Paul instructs us to be thankful. We should heed the words of the apostle and the be influenced by Horatio Spafford’s marvelous lyrics. Let’s pause and give thanks. And then let us continue to give thanks every day for God’s greatness.

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