When I pastored my first church, I was eager to meet the members.
I began a robust visitation schedule. Figuring I would meet the regular attendees at church, I started with the shut-ins. One visit was memorable.
Betty had terminal cancer, but talking with her didn’t reveal any sorrow. She was thankful and told me how people in the church were good to her, how God was such a blessing, and how blessed she was. Although her body was wasting away—and although she labored to walk across the living room to ensure her new pastor had a clear place to sit on the sofa—she was a picture of thankfulness. I went to see her thinking I would make her feel better about her sad condition but left feeling better for having visited her.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Betty had a good understanding of Paul’s words. She was not thankful for her cancer, but in that circumstance, she perceived opportunities to give thanks. Her thankfulness during her bout with cancer amplified the glory of God. Few would have faulted her for complaining and grumbling, but her thankfulness and joy were not grounded in the shifting sands of her circumstances.
Paul encouraged the church at Thessalonica to view their present circumstances with the conviction that God was working on their behalf.
God wills for us to be thankful. By giving thanks, especially in troubled times, we give a visible expression of God's will in our lives.
Go ahead. Give thanks today.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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Jeremy S. Stirm is a husband, father, brother, son, friend, and military chaplain (among other things). He recently returned from another trip to Afghanistan and now lives with his family in the Austin area. Jeremy is passionate about teaching the Bible and theology and connecting important theological themes with the realities of daily living.