18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Give thanks in every situation, because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
There’s a story about an encounter John Wesley had with a poor porter, when he wasn’t certain he wanted to follow his father into ministry. When he was a student at Oxford, he was talking with the porter. Wesley found out, that even though it was cold, the man had only a thin coat to wear. Wesley said he should get another coat. The man said, “This is the only coat I have, and I thank God for it.” This led Wesley to ask the porter when he had last eaten, but the porter said, “I have had nothing today but water to drink, and I thank God for it.”
Wesley, concerned, said that the man should go home before he was locked out for the night. Being sarcastic, Wesley said, “Then what would you thank God for?” The man replied, “I will thank God that I have dry stones to lie upon.” Wesley was moved by the porter’s faith and said, “You have nothing to wear, nothing to eat, and no bed to lie on. What else do you thank God for?” The porter said, “I thank God that he has given me life, a heart to love him, and a desire to serve him.”
The man left with one of Wesley’s coats, money for food. The porter’s faith made an impression on Wesley and he wrote in his journal, ”I shall never forget that porter. He convinced me there is something in religion to which I am a stranger.” (Story Source: Maxie Dunham, Jesus’ Claims, Our Promises. (Nashville: Upper Room, 1985) pages 61-62.)
Things have been tough, and they aren’t getting any easier. If we’re honest, feeling thankful has not been our default setting. We need a reset. Giving thanks in every situation may seem impossible to us, but it’s actually an opportunity. We can complain and be resentful, or we can thank God for the gift of his faithful presence in our life. Jesus gave thanks to God, blessing a few loaves and fishes to feed five thousand, raising Lazarus, over the bread and cup at the Last Supper. Giving thanks to God makes every moment of our lives more abundant. We don’t feel thankful for bad things that happen to us, but we can give thanks in every situation that God is with us and the victory over sin and death is already won through Christ Jesus.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Feeling thankful may not be our default setting, but it can be. One of the ways we can create a reset is to cultivate thankfulness in the spiritual practice of journaling. Start by writing down just one thing each day you are thankful for, and keep a record for thirty days. After thirty days go back and review all the things you are thankful for, even in tough situations. You will be humbled and grateful at all the gifts that God has provided to you.
Prayer: Holy and loving God, you are the God of every blessing. We give you thanks for always being with us. Thank you for giving us life, a heart to love you and a desire to serve you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.