1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
The two toughest words in this scripture is “in all.” It’s the toughest because this includes people we may have a hard time getting along, or who have hurt us, or who have disappointed us. As Jesus followers we don’t pick and choose when or with whom to to be grateful. We are called to be grateful in all circumstances. There are five reasons we need to follow God’s advice here.
- Gratitude honors God. Anytime you are thankful for someone you honor God. God created every person you lay eyes on. They are made in his image. When we choose to be thankful we honor God for his creation.
- Gratitude creates fellowship. Do you want to rebuild a relationship with a friend, a parent, a spouse, or someone at church? Whoever it is start spending more time thanking God for them and expressing gratitude toward them. Call them, write them, send an email thanking them for their good deed or for a way they have demonstrated loyalty.
- Gratitude develops your faith. For some people in our life, it is a difficult task giving thanks. This can be a test of how deep our faith runs in God. If you have been hurt by someone don’t look at what’s lost, look at what’s left. No matter how bad the relationship, there is always the fact that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. God has promised to give you strength, to care for you, to do miracles, and to answer your prayer. In short, don’t sell God short. I’m not saying you ignore the hurt, bury it, or let a person run all over you and hurt you again, but you can choose where to focus.
- Gratitude serves others. Depreciation means when I drive a car off the lot it decreases in value. To appreciate means to raise in value. Gratitude is a ministry. When you appreciate your husband, your boss, your kids, you raise their value. If you want God to change your relationships for the better here is a simple action you can do: Appreciate them.
- Gratitude is a witness to unbelievers. One of the best ways to begin sharing your faith with someone is expressing gratefulness for them. Gratitude is something people rarely experience today with so many demanding people. We are called to live in a way to make the truth of Jesus attractive. Can they look at how you live your life and want to know more about what is giving you such a great attitude?