I Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Looking for that mystical “will of God” for your life so you can plan out your future? His will for you is more immediate — “in every thing give thanks.”
Not “After” Every Thing, but “In” Every Thing
It isn’t God’s will for us to wait until we can see why He allowed the things He does, and then decide we’ll give thanks for them. If I do that, I am setting myself up as the judge over God. I might as well be saying this: “OK, God, now that I can see what you were doing, I’ll give thanks for it. You’ve earned my thanks by letting me see what You were doing, so NOW You match up to my standards of what a God should be. Thank You, God for being good enough to deserve my thanks.”
It’s better to give thanks later than to never give thanks at all, but God’s will is to give thanks in everything, and even if it doesn’t say it explicitly, that suggests “now,” not “later.”
Not Just the Good Things, but Every Thing
Those “alls” and “everythings” in Scripture are tough. But there it is, and we can’t run from it. It needs no elaboration, really. If you are reading this, you know what “every thing” means.
It would be easy to give thanks “in every thing” if we really believed this:
And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We don’t really believe it very well, so we don’t give thanks. We hate “every thing” in the prior verse, but we like “all things” here. Here, it sounds so much better. We can vaguely hope that it will work out for good, but to actually respond as if we believe it and give thanks? That’s a little too much to expect, isn’t it?
“You’re pushing it there, Pastor. Just back off a little. Make your lofty statements about all the good things God is going to do, and I’ll sit here thinking hopefully it is going to work out the way you say, but DON’T expect me to actually give thanks and act is if it WILL work out the way the Bible says. Do you think I’m crazy?”
Let’s connect our “all things” and our “every things,” today, tomorrow, and every day. For those who celebrate it, may the Lord give you a blessed and truly thankful Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.