Give thanks in all circumstances.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) This is the third of the Apostle Paul’s admonitions toward what he calls “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. It may be that, principle upon principle, stone upon stone, he is building a description of life well-lived, a life “in the will of God”.
Early in life, parents teach a child to be thankful. With even the smallest of gifts received, I can still hear my mother voice, “Say thank you.” And I learned to say the words even when I wasn’t truly thankful.
Even now, after all these years, I’m still learning to have an attitude of gratitude – a truly thankful spirit. A thankful spirit gives gladly, small gifts or great. It responds to need with generosity, asking nothing in return. It gives quietly, shunning public praise. And that holy attitude of gratitude gives us the strength to “give thanks in all circumstances”.
One of the greatest challenges of caregiving is developing a deeply thankful heart that has learned to say, “thanks be to God, for his indescribable gift”. (2 Corinthians 9:15), then learning to let it filter through our actions and our attitudes “in all circumstances”.
Teach me, O Lord, to develop a thankful heart. Amen
Photo courtesy of Ken Jones, copyright 2016