Giving Thanks in All Circumstances.
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“Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
When we were dividing up my folks’ possessions after they both passed away, I asked if I could keep this print of a famous picture, often seen in many households. An old man has set aside his glasses and book, and is praying over his humble lunch, a bowl of soup and a small loaf of bread.
What struck me about this picture is about how seemingly insignificant it is: a simple prayer of thanks over a simple lunch by a common person. This is not our Lord Jesus in Gethsemane praying for strength to do the Father’s will. This is not the President of the United States announcing a day of prayer during a national crisis. This is a commonplace person doing a seemingly common thing, saying thank you to God for his meal.
Often when I think of the words, “give thanks in all circumstances,” I think of Christians valiantly giving thanks in the midst of suffering and trials. And certainly that is one application of this verse. But is it not just as important that you and I, in common, everyday circumstances, continually give thanks for every blessing, no matter how insignificant others may think it is?
After all, Jesus Himself said that if you give a cup of cold water to a child because you are His disciple, you will not lose your reward. True love and true thanks are not always great, grandiloquent gestures of sacrifice in the midst of crisis, but are often the day in, day out “small” acts and prayers of thanks that life is full of.
I remember our Norwegian exchange student being shocked when we prayed as a family in a restaurant. He said that he was surprised that we gave thanks in front of others in a public place. I replied, “Whether we are at home or whether we are in public, we always give thanks to God for our meal.” Kjartan smiled and said, “I guess I have a lot to learn about America.”
Whether at home or in public, whether over a grand banquet or a simple meal, whether in good times or bad, we give thanks.
Heavenly Father, thank you for all you do in our lives, for all blessings, large and small. Especially we give you thanks for our Lord Jesus and His Gift to us of Himself. Amen.
Picture and Text Copyright Steve Nickodemus