By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
It’s the Thanksgiving season when families gather and give thanks for all they have in a giant meal together.
When the holiday is focused on a big meal, it also causes us to focus on thoughts around provision and ideas around the theme of the fall harvest of crops and how fortunate we are to have som much to eat.
When we look at what we can be thankful for, a lot of it leads us to thoughts about what’s been provided. Cattle prices are good, we’re thankful. If feed prices are low, we’re thankful.
The Thanksgiving season prompts us to be thankful for what we have or are given. We often use the term “blessed” and that is part of what leads us to associating being thankful for the good things we have.
“I was blessed to win the rodeo last night.”
“I won the year end buckle, #blessed.”
Search the hashtag “Blessed” on social media sites and there will be thousands of those kinds of statements from Christians and non-Christians alike across every lifestyle.
So do we ever consider it a blessing when we enter a rodeo eight times in a row and lose each time, or when something far worse happens?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This verse tells us a lot about the state of mind Christians should maintain. We should always be rejoicing, understanding the salvation God has given us through Jesus Christ.
We should always be thoughtful about praying. When we see a situation unfold, pray. When we have a worry, pray. When we are making a decision, pray. When something good happens, pray—giving thanks.
When something bad happens, pray—giving thanks.
It says all circumstances.
But here’s what James has to say about why a bad situation is worth both being joyful and praising and thanking God.
James 1: 2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
God can use the worst of our circumstances to continue building our faith and our ability and willingness to persevere through the trial or struggle, to bring about Christian maturity in us—to make us more like Jesus Christ.
Anything that makes us more like Jesus should be worth thanking God for when we learn to value who Jesus is and put our hope and faith in him.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul who wrote the letter, is telling us that because of our saving faith in Jesus, it’s God’s will for us to rejoice, pray and give thanks in everything.
As the holiday season gives us a reason to think about our blessings and give thanks, be encouraged if you’re going through something challenging or that feels impossible, that God isn’t going to let it do anything but make you more like Jesus and that’s something to be thankful for.