It’s not always easy to choose to be thankful, is it? Life hurts sometimes. There are situations we wish would go differently. There are days that seem to be out of control and chaotic. How can we be thankful when things don’t go the way we want them to? Whatever the case, God desires for us to choose to be thankful. Paul says in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be thankful.” There’s no way around that command. It is simply, “be thankful.” When we are thankful we take on a new perspective of life; one that sees a God who is at work behind all things giving us infinite reasons to be thankful.
You might be thinking, “But Pastor, you don’t understand what I’ve been through. You don’t understand how hard it is! You don’t understand the hurt I’ve experienced.” And you are right, I don’t understand those things. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like walking in some of your shoes. There’s a story a young boy who lived in France. His name was Denis and he absolutely refused to give thanks to a little girl named Marie. You see, Marie, was only 3 years old and she received a bronze medal for an “act of courage and dangerous sacrifice.” She received great praise all around for what she did but never a “thank you” from Denis. Now if you knew Marie and Denis you would certainly find this unusual because the two of them were the best of friends. They were inseparable; wanting to do everything together. One day the two were playing together at a public pool. They enjoyed splashing and playing games together in the water when all of the sudden Denis didn’t come up out of the water. Rather than panic, Little Marie did what she thought was best and grabbed her friend by the hair and held his head above the water until someone came to help. After everyone was dried off Marie said in an interview, “Denis doesn’t like me now because it hurt when I pulled his hair.” I understand that life hurts. I understand that there are things that don’t go our way and it just stings. But we have a Savior who has rescued us! John says this in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Notice the motivation of God in this verse. It wasn’t to get a “thanks.” It wasn’t because you or I loved him. It wasn’t even because we did anything to deserve it. This was just an opportunity for God to put on display His great love for us. Without Jesus we have no way away from God’s anger. We have no escape from hell. We were each drowning in sin and death because of breaking God’s law. No matter how hard we struggled to get above water by trying to be good enough there was no way to reach safety. Our money, prayers, and works were useless but Jesus saw us in the depths of our depravity and pulled us out. He saved us by His death and gave us life eternal by His resurrection. Yes, life may be painful at times but in the face of all that we have been given, that is no reason to withhold thanks.
The Lord has given each of us much to be thankful for. We have the gift of life for today and everlasting life found in Jesus Christ! God’s mercies were new this morning and they will be new again tomorrow morning. He supplies our every need and uses all we face for our good. We can face trials with thanksgiving knowing that God has a purpose for them. We can receive blessings with joy knowing that these are demonstrations of our Father’s great love for us. I know that one of the ways my Father has lavished His grace upon me is through this church family. I am thankful to share life with you. I pray that each of you would choose to have a thankful perspective on life. One of the best ways to get there is to continually remind yourself of all you’ve been given in and through Jesus.
Choosing To Be Thankful With You, Pastor Rudy