THIS WEEK: Five Reasons to Give Thanks!
It’s natural to complain.
It’s easier to focus on what is wrong.
2020 provides many reasons to complain…we could fit right in with others and find multiple reasons to do so.
But giving thanks…for CoVid? For unrest? For loss of jobs? For hardship? For….(you fill in your own).
What do you think the reaction on social media would be if you posted thanksgiving for all the “bad” things of 2020?
If done with genuine gratitude and trust that God can and does work ALL things for the good of those who love him, it might just be a powerful witness.
One such example was the Apostle Paul. Talk about a litany of reasons to complain…he had them. He was persecuted, beaten, left for dead, falsely accused, and more. At the end of Acts another “misfortune” befalls him as he is being transported to Rome to face trial for accusations leveraged in Jerusalem. On the voyage from Jerusalem to Rome, the trip didn’t go as planned. The ship was going to sink. Some were ready to jump ship into the lifeboat…but Paul said “Unless we all stay, no one will survive.” Throughout the night, the sailors wondered what would happen. Before the sun rose, here’s what Paul did:
Acts 27:33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
All 276 sailors heard Paul GIVE THANKS to God. He did it in front of them all! Perhaps it was just for the bread they were going to eat, but I can’t imagine Paul not including thanks for the sailors, the promise of safety, God’s protection and providence…all in the middle of a horrible situation! In the end all 276 on board survived.
The irony of Paul’s prayer is that it was not the “fox hole” prayer. He didn’t cry out in a panic to make a deal with God that if God would save them he would… He simply took the opportunity to thank God for the situation and the provisions they had. He gave thanks.
The simple act of giving thanks to God can be a public witness to your faith and the God in whom you trust.
I read a comment recently (sorry can’t remember where) which quipped, “20/20 is clarity of vision. Perhaps all the challenges of 2020 are God’s way of focusing us clearly on him.”
How true! When we focus on the Lord, we can be confident he is working for our best interest…
…and for that we can give thanks! When you do, it might surprise others. That’s OK, giving thanks becomes your opportunity to witness to others!
Apply: Take time this week to post or speak an “unexpected thanksgiving.” Take something that most others would complain about and find a reason to publically give thanks to God for it.
Prayer: Father thank you for the confidence that no matter what the circumstance I face, you have given me a reason to give thanks. Let this expression of gratitude be a witness to all around that your goodness supersedes our challenges. Amen.