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Give Thanks In Everything

If thanksgiving is God’s will for you, does that mean you should be grateful for difficult circumstances? Pastor Lutzer unpacks how you can truly give thanks…starting today! Don’t give thanks for everything but in everything.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes With Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today and we are going to find out exactly what God’s will really is. Sometimes we think to ourselves, “God’s will is so complicated.” Well, let’s look at God’s will as it is revealed explicitly in the scripture. I’m talking about thanksgiving. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ concerning you.” So, there you have it: “In everything give thanks.” I have to tell you that this verse has been very transforming in my own life. There are circumstances that are very difficult at times but I give thanks to God not FOR everything but IN everything. And I’ll tell you why—it changes everything. It’s because thanksgiving brings God into your circumstances. You know, we thank God for good health but do we ever thank Him for illness? We thank God for our promotions. Do we ever thank Him for our demotions? Now, of course it’s very important that we not thank God FOR evil but even IN evil we can give thanks to God, recognizing that He is in control and He will control the outcome and can use it for His glory. “In everything give thanks.”

You know, in Philippians the apostle Paul says this, “Make your request known unto God with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” Always add thanksgiving! And then he says, ”…and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” The imagery there is actually of a castle and, of course, what you have is the peace of God guarding our hearts. Now, let’s think more carefully about that verse. He says that if you give thanks and prayers and supplications with thanksgiving, he said the peace of God will keep your heart (that has to do with our emotions). He says that it will also keep our minds (that has to do with what we’re thinking) in Christ Jesus. In everything give thanks. You can do that today. You can begin differently.

Two stories: Matthew Henry was a commentator. Many of us have his commentaries on the whole Bible. And one day he was robbed and that night he wrote in his diary that he gave thanks to God for four things. First of all that this was the first time he had been robbed. He had been held up and his wallet was taken. Secondly he says he gave thanks to God because “they only took my wallet and they spared my life.” And then he said, “I also thank God that even though they took everything that I had it wasn’t much.” And finally, and most importantly, let us always remember this. He said, “I give thanks to God that I was the one who was robbed and I wasn’t the robber.” You know, but for the grace of God you never know where we would be or what we could do. Thank God if you’ve been wronged, you’re not the one that did the “wronging,” if I can use that word. One other story: Lisa Beamer, you remember her story of course, her husband Todd. “Let’s Roll.” Remember it was because of his words and apparently the passengers on the plane there in Pennsylvania on 9/11 that the plane was brought down rather than having it fly to Washington DC. And apparently, if I remember correctly, it was headed for the White House. Well, she of course became a widow and years later when she was celebrating the date of Todd’s birthday she took her children to a play. She wanted to do something that was a little lighthearted. On the way home, her son, David, who must have been seven or eight, said, “Mommy, why are you so sad?” She said, “I’m so sad because your daddy isn’t with us so that we could celebrate his birthday together.” And as a child would say, David said, “Yes mom. But we can still have cake, can’t we?”

Today, you may be going through a time of sorrow. You may look around and wonder what it is that you should give thanks to God for, but look carefully and you will find that there’s some cake. “In everything give thanks. It is the will of god concerning you.” Do that right now. Thanks so much for joining us today and as for today, you just “go with God.”


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