In Everything Give Thanks

Posted by on Dec 2, 2008 in Rev. Serven

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Paul concludes his first letter to the Thessalonians by making a passing statement, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Perhaps you are wondering, like I am, is Paul really serious about us obeying this admonition? How can a person “give thanks” in everything? After all, there are some truly awful parts of life where it is challenging to find anything to be thankful about!

The key to interpreting this passage is found by investigating Paul’s own personal circumstances. Since he never asked anyone to do what he wouldn’t also do himself, then it is reasonable to conclude that he meant to apply this statement to his own life situation.

With this interpretive principle in mind we observe that Paul does not expect Christians to ignore feelings of sorrow, grief, suffering, or disappointment. Nor, does he expect us to “put on a happy face” as it nothing were the matter.

Instead, we are to carefully note, the providential hand of God is active in the midst of difficult circumstances—and give thanks for all that the Lord does. This is just what Paul did in his own life. Let us, then, follow Paul’s example (cf. 1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1).