It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about Christmas…I’m talking about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, as we know it today, began to take shape in 1863 with a decree by President Lincoln. It came to it’s current placement in our nations calendar in November of 1941 on the precipice of the Second World War. Thanksgiving as a national holiday was birthed in the midst of hardship, poverty, war, strife, and division. Every exhortation in God’s Word is set against the reality of the Fall and the curse. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, amidst a flurry of exhortations, one them stands out above all others. In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. This is God’s will. That may seem redundant…after all, it’s in the Bible and it’s in the form of a present active imperative–a clear command. By telling us that this is God’s will for those in union with Jesus, Paul is, as it were, underscoring, highlighting, italicizing, putting in caps this particular command. Don’t miss this! it’s God’s will for you to always be thankful. Doing God’s will is of eternal consequence. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 that only those who do the will of God will go to heaven. Paul tells us in Romans 1 that among the many sins which merit the wrath of God is ingratitude. Unbelief and ingratitude binds the souls in hell together. But how can we be thankful at all times and for all things? Are there not issues which grieve and disappoint us? Of course. The issue is that what God has done for us in Jesus is so much better that it always tips the scales towards gratitude. No matter how well things are going in your estimation now, if you are in Christ you have reason to be thankful.
November 25, 2014