Friday, August 14, 2009

In Everything Give Thanks (Part 1)

Picture this: You were struggling to get all your date lines met; your teenage children are trying to stretch your patience; your parents were screaming for attention and protested silently; the church meetings non-stop; events, activities, counseling sessions, important dates etc… and before you knew it, when your mind is full of these do’s and more do’s, you found yourself knocked a motorcyclist and right before your eyes, you saw him flying over to the left side of the vehicle and the motorbike slammed into the opposite direction. Suddenly the mind blank and there were shouting and mourning. The man obviously was groaning in pain and the motorbike was smashed badly.

After some checking, the man insisted that he was okay. He said that he knew me and my husband who is the pastor and that he has come to some of our church major event many times. I was shocked, amazed and then touched by his consideration and concern and instead of me trying to get him to see the doctor, he was trying to comfort me in return. He insisted that he was alright and didn’t need any medical treatment.

Now, can we still give thanks to God? Can we say that this is the will of God? The bible says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (I Thess 5:18).

Let’s do a little study on this one sentence:
ἐν παντὶ εὐχαριστεῖτε: τοῦτο γὰρ θέλημα θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς ὑμᾶς.
In all/every (thing), you give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus in you. (concerning/for)

εὐχαριστεῖτε is in Present Active Imperative. Imperative is something that we should take note of and an important matter to the writer. The whole word means, “You all (a plural) give thanks”.

Paul was exhorting the Christian to give thanks in everything (ἐν παντὶ). Sounds pretty simple! He gave the reason why we should give thanks, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus in us.” God’s will is embedded in Christ who lives in us too. So we summarize, it simply means, we should give thanks under all circumstances; under all situation, for God is pleased because this is his will already stated in His Son, Christ Jesus who lives in us. (paraphrased)

From this paragraph, indeed it is Paul’s intention to ask the believers to continuously giving thanks to God, willingly and with emphasis that this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. So putting this into the situation earlier, we shall giving thanks for all these happenings. I began to see the logic if we see it on the other side.

In giving thanks, we should first of all be APPRECIATIVE for all those people around us and be thankful for all the happenings. You may say, “How ignorant! Because life isn’t that simple! How could we still give thanks when we go through calamities like losing our loved ones; experiencing injustice, abused, unloved, accused and etc.” Yes, I believe such challenges are part of life.

My question is, “Will you live better by complaining and storming over spilled milk? What do you get if you complain and stomping your feet in anger?” And so what if you actually get even with your enemy, what do you get? Another enemy, that’s all! Or will the situation actually changed when you cry your liver out and will it yield to your wish when you spent sleepless nights staring into the ceiling? Let me guess… answer is “NO”.

But if we choose to be thankful to God for things we do not understand, for all the injustices and accusations or even abusive behavior we received, we may end up learning a precious lesson that will save us from insanity. How many times we heard of sicknesses related to unforgiveness and bitterness. They are like gangrene and before you knew it, had spread deep into your bones.

When we look at situations with a positive attitude and knowing that though bad things happen to us, we still have our God who promised to look after us. He will not leave us nor forsake us. His promises are sure. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Num 23:19)

We must learn to trust God that he cares and he knows and when we put our faith in him, we will find solace and peace and joy that the situation cannot give us. So let’s start by giving thanks to the present situation that you are in right now and see God’s peace and joy fill your heart J

(see you at part 2 next week)


Vicki said...

Thanks Lynda for a wonderful blog. Praising, trusting and delighting in our wonderful Heavenly Father is such an important part of our daily life. Appreciate how you express the Lord's love and heart in your writing.
I am thankful for you, my friend.
Blessings to you and your family from Steve and I in Alaska!

John Justin said...

That was some "kesaksian". Truly you have that special love and the comforter in you to come out of it like that. I believe strongly in that statement of 'always giving thanks' but then again just felt that I'm not tested enough to prove it. May God's safeguard my heart always.
Thanks SP Lynda...keep writing, knowing that it 'waters' our soul and humbled our mind.
God bless you all always.