… in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thes 5:18 Net Bible
One of the techniques used to study the Bible and understand scripture is to envision yourself as the original audience the passage was addressed to. In I Thessalonians 5:12-21, the Apostle Paul goes through a laundry list of responsibilities each member of the church at Thessalonica should embrace as their personal duty. Among them, always rejoice, constantly pray, and in everything give thanks. Whether a member of the original audience or a 21st Century believer, remaining thankful and giving thanks in all situations is easier said than done, especially when the challenge of everyday life enters the mix. Making the effort must be worth the benefit since it is God’s will for us.
The wisdom to seek out this benefit is no further away than our Bible. Solomon, the wises man who ever lived, points way in Ecclesiastes 7:1-6
A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
A fool’s laughter is quickly gone,
like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
He began by exposing our ignorance of the significance of adversity and prosperity (7:1-14; cf. Job). Both of these conditions, he noted, can have good and bad effects depending on how a person responds to them. Prosperity is not always or necessarily good (cf. 6:1-12), and adversity, or affliction, is not always or necessarily evil (cf. 7:1-15). Really adversity is often a greater good than prosperity. Dr. Thomas Constable, Constable’s Notes.
“Really adversity is often a greater good than prosperity.” Solomon suggests that we look beneath the surface of what human nature has conditioned us to believe is either a good situation or bad situation. His wisdom suggests that if we dig deep enough, we may discover that beneath the surface of adversity there lies a golden path. A path prepared by God to lead us to our next stage of life.
Scripture, whether Old or New Testament, always comes together. The Apostle Paul advises us, as believers, how we should view any situation we find ourselves in. And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose Rom 8:28 NET Bible
It’s true that November is a time of thanksgiving in America. But will the impact of Covid-19, the election results, and the other challenges that may come from around the corner cause us to forget Solomon’s wisdom and our Christian responsibility? … in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thes 5:18 Net Bible
I’m still thankful!
Written by Henry Hopson, Jr.