A Word from Pastor Stephen – May 19, 2020
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
Many passages in the Bible can challenge us. This verse, in particular, can be difficult to face. How can any of us give thanks in “all circumstances”? How can one give thanks when faced with a cancer diagnosis? How can one be thankful when a child has become a prodigal and run off to a far country? How can one give thanks when a job is lost and the prospect of financial ruin is on the horizon? We can face so many fearful circumstances in our lives that can make it incredibly difficult to give thanks.
Did the Apostle Paul really mean that we should give thanks in “all circumstances”, or was he just using poetic license? I believe he did want us to be thankful at all times. Paul faced so much turmoil, hardship and loss in his life. He was beaten and stoned. He found himself in prison numerous times. If anyone had a right to complain and not be thankful, it would have been Paul. Yet he tells the Ephesians that we should be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20)
Since Paul belonged to Jesus, he had confidence that in any and all circumstances he knew his future was secure. Salvation was his through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible commentator William Barclay commented on this verse by stating, “There is always something for which to give thanks; even on the darkest day there are blessings to count. We must remember that if we face the sun the shadows will fall behind us but if we turn our backs on the sun all the shadows will be in front.” If can be difficult, but if we belong to Jesus, we must try to give thanks at all times and in all circumstances. Amen.