Give Thanks in Whatever Circumstance

9 11 2007

By Pastor Norman S. Lao

I Thessalonians 5:18


The month of November is Thanksgiving Month for most, if not all, Christian Churches all over the world. We follow the American national celebration since many of our churches have been started by American missionaries at the close of the 19th century when they acquired the Philippines from the Spanish. It is a time for being thankful and a time for the giving of thanksgiving offerings to God. Many churches in Iloilo, especially those near the farm, encourage their members to bring fruits, vegetables, and other farm products for their thanksgiving offering.

This is good practice. However, the problem with having a Thanksgiving Month is that Christians tend to be thankful only in November.

The Apostle Paul has a better idea.

Our text gives us three very important truths: what to do, when to do it, why do it.

I. What to do: Give Thanks

The first thing we are told to do is to GIVE THANKS. Notice, we are to GIVE thanks. We are not to KEEP thanks, but we are to GIVE it.

How are we to give thanks?

A. We can verbalize it.

In other words, thanksgiving must be expressed. We need to tell God we are thankful. Thankful people are thinking people. Fill your hearts with words of thanks when you go to church next Lord’s Day.

B. We can materialize it.

In other words, we can be thankful to God by offering a Thanksgiving Offering. In our church we have a practice of giving 1 peso for every year of their life. If you are 21 years old, you give God 21 pesos on Thanksgiving Lord’s Day. If you are 10 years old, you give 10 pesos, etc.

In some churches, especially those in the farm, they give fruits, sacks of rice, live chicken, pigs, etc. as their thanksgiving offering. Then they use these to bless their less fortunate members.

C. We can actualize it.

We can give thanks not only with words and with material things, but with action and with our life. It is not enough to say “thank you” to God. It is not enough to offer a thanksgiving offering to God. We must live in thankfulness. There is a beautiful word coined to express this: THANKSLIVING.

Because we are thankful to God, we LIVE a life that is pleasing to Him.

II. When to do it: In All Circumstances

Is it possible to be thankful to God in everything? Of course! The Bible would not have said to “give thanks in all circumstances” if it was not possible.

So, can we be thankful even though something bad happens to us? Listen to the following examples:

Illustration: In a small town there was a pastor who was known for his thankful prayers at the start of the worship service every Lord’s Day. One Sunday, it was raining very hard and the road was all wet and muddy. The congregation struggled to come to church to worship that day. One of the members of the church thought to himself, “Now, let’s see what the pastor can be thankful about on this most miserable day.” When the service began, the pastor went to the pulpit for his customary prayer. He prayed like this, “Our Father in heaven, we thank you that it is not always like this. Amen.”

Illustration: One time, Matthew Henry, the famous Bible scholar, was robbed of his wallet and belongings. When he arrived home he wrote in his journal (diary): “Lord, I thank you that in all my life this was the first time I was robbed. And I thank You that even if I was robbed my life was spared. I thank you that even if I was robbed, it was just a little portion of what I own. I thank you also that it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.”

We can be thankful in all circumstances. It just depends on how we look at our situation. People are not thankful because they only see the “bad side” of things – they cannot see the good side.

Illustration: Two boys were drinking a bottle of soda. When they both got to the middle of the bottle one said, “My bottle is half empty.” The other boy said, “Mine is still half full.” Which kind of person are you? Do you tend to look at the negative side? Or are you the kind who looks at the positive side? Many Christians are grumblers instead of thankful because they only see the dark side. One saying has wisdom in it: “Do not curse the darkness, turn on the light!”

You can be thankful in all circumstances when you begin to look on the brighter side of things.

You can be thankful in all circumstances when you realize that nothing happens to you by accident. Romans 8:28 tells us, “In everything God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

So, even when something bad happens to us we can still be thankful! We can still praise God!

III. Why do it: It is God’s Will for You in Christ

To give thanks to God is good because it is God’s will.

A. God Desires Thanksgiving.

In the story of the Ten Lepers (Luke 17) it was clear that Jesus was disappointed that only one came back to give thanks. God expects his people to be thankful.

B. God Deserves Thanksgiving.

God has blessed us so much it is just right that we give Thanks to Him.

He saved us.

He washed us from our sins.

He made us His children.

He prepares a place for us in Heaven.

He gives us our daily bread.

He will come again to bring us home.

Thinking people are thankful people. Think of God’s goodness and your heart will overflow with thanksgiving!

C. God Delights in Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving makes God happy. In fact, in the Old Testament, Thanksgiving is the way into the presence of God (Psalm 100:4).


Are you a thankful person? Do you give thanks to God not only during good times, but all the time?


Our Father in Heaven,

Thank you so much for all the things You have done, you are doing and will be doing for us. We are truly grateful. Forgive us for all the times when we were so selfish that we were not thankful. Help us to be more thankful to You in the future. Give us a grateful heart, fill our mouths with grateful words and our lives with thankfulness.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.




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