For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. – 1 Timothy 4:4-5
Give Thanks in All Things
Twice in the Bible we are commanded to give thanks in all things (Ephesians 5:17-20 & 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18). In both occasions it is tied to the idea of God’s will for you. In the tapestry of our lives, woven with threads of joy and sorrow, gratitude emerges as a transformative force in our Christian walk.
Life’s journey is marked by inevitable trials and tribulations, but the call to give thanks in all things is unambiguous in Scripture. It is not a mere suggestion but a fundamental aspect of living a Christian life. In times of hardship, we may find ourselves offering thanks not out of mere desire but in obedience to God’s command.
Why is Giving Thanks Important?
I have listened to many secular business leaders over the years for my job. One Christian principle they most often encourage people to do is to start off each day thinking of what they are thankful for. They will say things like the universe will bring you good things as you look for them. If you start off with checking your emails or social media, you can easily become rushed or agitated by something. And, that would set a negative “vibe” for your day.
I understand that they don’t have a Christian worldview, so they are not quite sure why it works. Still, they have experienced its benefits for themselves.
Being thankful shifts our focus from problems to hope, reminding us of God’s past faithfulness and strengthening our faith for the future. Lack of thanks reveals where our eyes have gotten off of God because He says for believers He works through everything for our good (Romans 8:28).
For non-believers, my guess is that they are tapping into a principle that God has created. By being thankful and grateful, God is willing to release more of His goodness into that person’s life. Plus, even God doesn’t want to be around complainers – many of the Israelites died in the desert because of it (1 Corinthians 10:10)
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones – Proverbs 17:22
The Transformative Power of Thanksgiving
Paul’s counsel to Timothy unveils a profound truth about the transformative power of thanksgiving. In a context where certain meats were linked to idol worship, Paul emphasizes that all of God’s creation is good when received with gratitude (1 Timothy 4:1-5).
During this time, it was known that certain meats you would purchase had been sacrificed to their gods. In Romans Paul teaches unity for the believers of weak and strong faith. Both those that eat meat and those that only eat vegetables are acceptable if done by faith expressed through giving thanks (Romans 14:4-8). There is something in the act of thanksgiving that sanctifies it.
This principle can be applied to every circumstance of life. When something terrible happens, you may never be particularly happy it occurred, but you can give thanks that God is in the midst and is working out something for your good. By doing this, you give God room to transform it to His purposes.
Personal Example of Transformation
Several years ago, my wife and I went through a separation. It was incredibly painful for both of us, and even though is was only two weeks, we didn’t know if God would bring us back together.
I remember being on the floor crying out to God and having something change within me. I felt the desire to offer up thanksgiving to the Lord for what He was doing. What I wanted to see happen seems impossible, but I was expressing my faith in God who loved me. God then took us through a time of life-change that revealed fears and lies we were believe about self, God, and each other. And, He started us on a process of bringing us back together.
Twenty years later, my wife and I still point to that season as one of the most impactful and transformative times in our lives. We never say we want to experience again, but we are thankful that God took us through that time. And, I believe that in moments of despair, expressing gratitude becomes an act of faith, paving the way for God to reveal His purposes and restore what was broken.
Lean Into the Transformative Power of Thanksgiving
In the tapestry of our lives, gratitude is a thread that not only beautifies but transforms. As we navigate the complexities of life, let us heed the biblical call to give thanks in all circumstances. Complaining and focusing on what we don’t like stagnates our faith and our Christian walk. Giving thanks becomes a declaration of faith in God’s sovereign work for our good. Allow the transformative power of thanksgiving to guide your journey of faith.