In this 3 minute video and the following transcript, I share some thoughts about gratitude.
1 Thessalonians 5 says, “Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Sometimes we search for the will of God. We wonder if it’s God’s will for me to go to this school, have a relationship with this person, move to this apartment, apply for this job, or whatever it is.
But in several places, Scripture tells us exactly what God’s will is. Here’s one of those places: it is God’s will that you give thanks in all circumstances—thanksgiving, gratitude, an expression of our hearts praising God for His goodness and how He has provided for and taken care of us. This is something that is built into what it means to be a follower of Christ.
People who learn to say “thanks” become more thankful. It’s a great thing to cultivate in a child by teaching them to say “thank you” for things. Maybe they’re not feeling all that grateful at the time. But the habit of expressing and saying “thank you” makes a more thankful person.
We live in a culture where there is a spirit of entitlement—where we think we deserve all of these great things. If something doesn’t go our way, we feel like we’ve been robbed and deprived. When a person gets what they think they’re already entitled to, they’re not grateful for it. After all, “I deserved it!” And when they don’t get what they think they deserve, there’s the spirit of ingratitude.
This is where we as Christians need to focus on what Christ has done for us and the promises of Scripture. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God has promised us—guaranteed us with a blood-bought promise, the shed blood of the Son of God—that He will in the end use for good even the hardest things that have ever happened to us.
That’s why I think Scripture can tell us, “Be joyful always. Give thanks in all circumstances.” We may not know why something difficult is happening now. One day we will, and we’ll see how God used it in our lives for His glory and for our ultimate good.
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.