Lesson 10: Grateful At All Times, In All Things

As you know, we are about to celebrate the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. This truly is my favorite holiday of the year. This is the one holiday of the year where the only thing people are expecting of you is your presence. People just seem to want to get together. You don’t have the mass media marketing that comes with Christmas. There is no stress for presents to buy. People stop, think about all that they have to be thankful for, and celebrate just being with one another.  More importantly, this is one day of the year that people stop to thank God for the many blessings that they have received. While I have always been thankful to live in a county that pauses to thank God, in truth we should be thankful more than 1 day a year. We are commanded to always give thanks! 

1 Thess 5:16-18 NKJV 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Do you know what than means? There are many, many times in many different areas of our life when we may not know what to do. There are many times that we may struggle with what the will of God is for our lives. Whom should I marry? Should I take this job or should I stay where I am? What kind of car should I buy? Where should I live? Though we live in a life with many questions, this is not one of them. Here we have the will of God stated clearly and plainly for all to see. This part of His will impacts our lives hundreds of times each week. Think of all the instances where were tempted to be angry, resentful, frustrated, or impatient. Think of all of the uncertainty and fear that you may have faced. Think of the moments of confusion that you may have encountered that you may not have known what to do. In every one of these instances, we know with a certainty that the will of the Lord is: Be thankful!

I may not know how things will play out and I may be frustrated with life’s events. I may be confused and not know which way to go. But even in those moments in my life, I know in the one in whom I can depend. I know the one in whom I can trust. Even in those moments where everything seems so uncertain, I may not see Him nor feel Him. However, I can know that He is there, and be thankful. 

Now, one would assume will all of the blessings that we have, that we would be an extremely thankful people. But often it is jus the opposite isn’t it? The more we get, the less thankful we become, the less mindful of God we are, the more we want. It can be so easy in this life to allow our circumstances to cause us to forget the great benefits and blessings of God. We start to think that all the great blessings that we received were really our doing rather than the divine providence of the Almighty God. We forget that we don’t really deserve the blessings that we have been give. They were given freely by God to us. Scripture says: 

James 1:17 NKJV 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

We can forget all that God has done, where He has taken us from, and what He is doing in our lives know. God has done so much for me personally but also think about what He has done for our families, our communities, our church and even our nation. You know, we can come to a place that God has blessed us so much that we begin to take the many blessings of God for granted. We can get so caught up with what we don’t have that we lose sight of all of the many things that we do have. 

We are much like the little boy who was given an orange by an older gentleman. The boy’s mother asked the boy when the orange was given to him, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back to the man and said, “Peel it.” 

So many times, we grumble about what we don’t have. We complain about the prayers that haven’t been answered yet. We get so caught up with the material things that we want: new car, new house, new clothes, and new job, that we lose sight of all that God has blessed us with. We lose sight of all the prayers that He did answer. We lose sight of all the blessings that He has poured out upon us! There is a real danger of determining our thanksgiving on the basis on how much we have. Do I have enough turkey to gorge myself sufficiently? Do I have enough money in my bank account? Did the doctor tell me what I wanted to hear. Did I get the promotion that I wanted? Did everyone stop and recognize all of my accomplishments? 

God, I want to thank you for what you have already done. 

While we set aside one November day in America to give thanks, the Apostle Paul said:

Eph 5:18-20 NKJV 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,    

Which leads me to my first point.

1.) Thanksgiving is not Seasonal

The Scriptures are filled with admonitions to give thanks to God all the time – we are to live a lifestyle of gratitude. 

  • We are to give thanks in the morning and at night (Psalm 92:1-2).
  • We are to give thanks at midnight (Psalm 119:62).
  • We are to give thanks even while we are in jail. (Acts 16:25-26).
  • We are to give thanks when eating. (Romans 14:6).
  • We are to give thanks for all of God’s provisions (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
  • We are to pray with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6-7).
  • We are to give thanks in everything that we do (Colo 3:17).

Those verses alone cover most of life’s circumstances. In other words, we are to be grateful to God all the time. It is not seasonal, it is habitual and constant. In fact, Scripture says that we might as well start developing this habit of gratitude now, because we are going to be expressing it for all eternity. Hymns of praise and gratitude permeate all throughout the book of Revelation. Look at the 24 elders, who represent the church worship God in Revelation: 

Rev 11:15-17 NKJV 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,

The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 

We have to develop a spirit of Gratitude in all seasons. We can’t look at all of the events and seasons that we find our life and become grumblers and complainers. We have to look at all of the provision of God and His Spirit and let it produce in us a spirit of gratitude. 

2.) Thanksgiving is not situational

Not only is thanksgiving not seasonal, it is not situational. That means that our circumstances have nothing to do with the gratitude that we express. If we are to give thanks in all things, then we are to give thanks even during difficult circumstances as well as pleasant ones. Now I didn’t say that we are to be grateful because of our problems. I said that we are to be grateful during our problems. 

1 Thess 5:16-18 NKJV 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Back in our opening text, Paul tells us that there are 3 traits what should characterize every Christian: 

  • Rejoicing always
  • Ceaseless prayer
  • And giving thanks in everything

There are so many things that we forget to thank God about. We forget to praise him for the times that He did come through for us. We forget to praise him for the times that we did get the good report from the doctor. There are so many times that we forget to praise Him for when we did get home safely. We don’t always understand the ways of God, but we know that God is good and His ultimate plans for us are good. We don’t always see what the outcome of His plans are, but we know that He is at work in our lives.

Look at the words that the Psalmist starts off with. In the first verse, with a highly charged burst of energy, the psalmist exclaims: 

Psalms 100:1-5 NKJV 1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the LORD, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations. 

Why can we sing? Why should we shout? What brings Thanksgiving to our hearts? It is the Lord! He is God! There is no God but the Lord, who rules and reigns over all! He is the creator of all things! He is the one that made the sun, the moon, and the stars! He is the God that hung the stars up on nothing in the sky! But even more than that! We are His people! The Sheep of His pasture! He made us and calls us His own, and now cares for us as a shepherd nurtures and sustains his flock. If there is nothing that I can be more thankful about, I can be thankful about that! I know Him! And I am His! If there is anything that should cause my heart to sing this morning, it is that! 

He cares for us when things are good and when things are bad. And even when things are bad, I can still be thankful, because I know he is there. He will watch over us like a shepherd with his sheep. We can trust in His faithfulness. 


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