IN EVERY THING GIVE THANKS
By John C. Carpenter
Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, wrote unto the church of the Thessalonians
which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:1), we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour
among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at
peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient
toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to
all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing [Greek, pas, all, every, whole, whosoever] give thanks [Greek, eucharisteo,
be grateful, express gratitude, say grace at meals, give thanks]: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench
not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And
the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:12-24). In these verses, Paul and
his fellow apostles instruct the church at Thessalonica in every thing to be grateful, express gratitude, and give thanks.
THANKS TO WHO?
If believers in Christ are to grateful and give thanks, we can ask two questions. One, to who are believers in
God and Christ to be thankful to, and two, for what are believers to be thankful for? Regarding the first question, the scriptures,
old and new testaments alike, leave no doubt about the “who." The psalmist, David, prayed, Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD,
be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever (Psalms
30:10-12). David adds, I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous
shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence (Psalms 140:12-13).
In organizing and directing the
priests and Levites, the scriptures tell us that Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses,
every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give
thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD (2 Chronicles 31:2). Other old testment scriptires instruct us, It is
a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High (Psalms 92:1). In the psalms, Asaph exhorts
us to Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee,
and thou shalt glorify me (Psalms 50:14-15).
To the saints and faithful brethren believers in Colossae, the apostle Paul wrote,Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, praying always for you (Colossians 1:2-3).
David elsewhere prayed, I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God,
set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD
better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs (Psalms 69:29-31). Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the
Thessalonians, wrote, Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for
you all, making mention of you in our prayers (1 Thessalonians 1:1-2).
Clearly, the scriptures teach that it is God the Father
who is deserving of our thanksgiving and praise. We could add many other verses to support this idea, but the point is made.
THANKS FOR WHAT?
No doubt we are to give thanks to God the Father, but, regarding question two, what things do the scriptures
teach that believers are to be thankful for? In about 930 B.C., the prophet Samuel wrote, Therefore I will give thanks unto thee,
O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. He is the tower of salvation [Hebrew, yeshuah, something saved,
victory, prosperity, deliverance, health, to save, welfare] for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his
seed for evermore (2 Samuel 22:50-51). In about 430 B.C. , it was probably the prophet Ezra who wrote, Give thanks unto the LORD,
call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually (1
Chronicles 16:8-11), as well as, O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever (1 Chronicles 16:34).
psalmist further instructs us as to other reasons for our praising of God: Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve
the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not
we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations(Psalms 100:1-5). The psalmist reminds us of God's goodness, His everlasting mercy, and His enduring truth. Another reason to give
thanks to God is because of God's wondrous works: To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Psalm or Song of Asaph. Unto thee, O God, do
we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works [Hebrew, pala, great, difficult, wonderful,
marvelous, miraculous] declare (Psalms 75:1).
The scriptures also instruct us that Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth
the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright
in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness [Hebrew, qaodesh, a sacred place or
thing, sanctity, consecrated thing, dedicated thing, hallowed thing, holy thing, saintly, sanctuary] (Psalms 97:10-12). God's holiness
is also motivation for giving Him thanks. The scriptures also teach us to be thankful for God's exploits, as well as His wondrous
and miraculous actions. We are taught, O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds [Hebrew aliylah, actions,
doing, exploits, invention, performance, work] among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous
works [Hebrew, pala, that which distinguishes, great, difficult, wonderful, miraculous, wondrous]. Glory ye in his holy name: let
the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD (Psalms 105:1-3).
In His bountiful mercy, the Lord also brings favor, gladness,
and prosperity, and is deserving of our thanks for these gifts of love: O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good [Hebrew, tob,
best, bountiful, favor, gladness, kindness, pleasant, prosperous, welfare]: for his mercy endureth for ever (Psalms 107:1, Psalm 118:1).
Lord also commits deserving judgments concerning His laws and ordinances: At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because
of thy righteous [right, equity] judgments [verdicts, enforcement of divine law or ordinances] (Psalms 119:62). These verdicts of
God the Father should also result in our praise and thanks. David expressed his thankfulness with these words: Give thanks unto the
LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds [Hebrew, alilah, effects, performances, action, doings, work] among the people. Sing
unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek
the LORD (1 Chronicles 16:8-10).
David continued with, O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for
ever. And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks
to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise (1 Chronicles 16:34-35). Here, David declares that God deserves our thanks and praise because
of His goodness, mercy, deliverance, and holiness. The unknown author, possibly Ezra, echos the thoughts of David with these words:And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever
toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the
LORD was laid (Ezra 3:11).
David was especially thankful to God for all His lovingkindness and miraculous works. David prayed,Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide [Hebrew, maad,
to waver, to shake, slip in faith and trust]. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness [Hebrew,chesed, beauty, favor, goodliness, loving, merciful, pity] is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with
vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.
I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, andtell of all thy wondrous [Hebrew, pala, accomplishments, high things, marvelous, miraculous, singular, wonderful works] works (Psalms
Believers in Christ are even to be thankful for the food that God provides us. The apostle Paul wrote Timothy, his own
son in the faith, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry,
and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving [Greek, eucharistia, gratitude, thankfulness,
giving of thanks] of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be
received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified [Greek, agiazo, to make holy, purify, consecrate, to venerate] by the word [Christ
and the gospel message, not the bible] of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:1-5).
Probably the most important new testament reason
for being thankful can be found in the letter to the Colossian believers written by Paul and Timotheus. They wrote, We give thanks
to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love
which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth
of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day
ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful
minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease
to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That
ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened
with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet [Greek, hikanoo, to enable, to qualify, to make able] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in
light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness [Greek, skotos, shadiness, obscurity, error], and hath translated [Greek,methistemi, to transfer, carry away, exchange] us into the kingdom of his dear Son. In whom we have redemption [Greek, apolutrosis,
ransomed, deliverance] through his blood, even [specifically] the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before
all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the
dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence [Greek, proteuo, to be first in rank or influence, before, beginning, chief,
be foremost]. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross,
by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were
sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he [God the Father] reconciled in the body of his [Christ's] flesh through
death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight (Colossians 1:3-22). Paul and Timotheus exhorted the Colossians
to give thanks to the Father because God the Father has made them eligible to be partakers of the inheritance of eternal life, has
transferred them from the power of darkness to the Kingdom of his Son, in who they [and we] have been ransomed and delivered through
the shed blood of Christ, in particular the forgiveness of sins. Paul and Timotheus continued by teaching that Christ created all
things in heaven and in earth, that all things were created by Christ and for Him, that Christ is the head of the church, that Christ
is the firstborn from the dead [first to be physically resurrected from the dead] so that in all things he might be first and foremost,
that through Christ's shed blood on the cross Christ made peace with God the Father possible for humanity, that Christ reconciled
all things to His Father in heaven, so that He could present the Colossian church [and all believers in Christ] holy, unblamable,
and unreproveable in God's sight. Is all of this not sufficient reason to give our heartfelt thanksgiving to God, our Father in heaven?
we mentioned earlier, old and new testaments both provide ample reasons to give thanks pertaining to God the Father. We are to be
thankful for God's deeds, salvation, mercy, wondrous works, goodness, truth, holiness, righteous judgments, and lovingkindness.
ARE BELIEVERS IN CHRIST TO DO?
Clearly, the scriptures teach us that believers in Christ should give thanks to God for all that
our heavenly Father is and does. This idea is encouraged, and even commanded, in many scripture verses. First, we should do as the
psalmist, and pray: O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I
will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in
the presence of all his people (Psalms 116:16-18). We should Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto
our God (Psalms 147:7), while the prophet Jonah expressed his sacrificial thanksgiving to God the Father with these words: I went
down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption,
O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They
that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that
that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD (Jonah 2:6-9).
The psalmist echoed the need for the sacrifice of thanksgiving when
he exclaimed, Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them
sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing (Psalms 107:21-22).
The apostles Paul and Timotheus
instructed the church in Philippi to Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6). Some are probably asking at this point, are we truly to be thankful in everything?
Does everything include even those things that we consider to be bad things, such as death of a family member, a spouse, or friend?
Does everything include life threatening illness, extensive and lengthy mental or physical suffering, or a car accident with serious
life-altering consequences? Does everything also include a diagnosis of terminal cancer, or divorce, or murder, or war? Well, according
to the scriptures, we are to be thankful to God for all things, including the the good, the bad, and the ugly. We know this because
the apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Rome: we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to
them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image
of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he
called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified (Romans 8:28-30). If you love God, and are called [by
Him] according to His purpose, and were foreknown by Him, you are saved from God's wrath and must give thanks to Him for all things,
including the bad, because all things are designed to conform us into the image of Christ so that we can also become the brethren
of Christ. As the brethren of Christ, we are therefore justified and shall be glorified with Christ. Anything that conforms the believer
in Christ to become His brethren resulting in our own glorification with Him is deserving of our thanks to God the Father.
the difficulties and struggles of life and our reaction to those struggles, the apostle James reminds us, My brethren, count it all
joy [Greek, chara, cheerfulness, delight, gladness, joyfulness, with thanksgiving] when ye fall into divers temptations [Greek, peirasmos,
putting to proof, experience of evil, provocation with adversity]; Knowing this, that the trying [testing for trustworthiness] of
your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [Greek, teleios, complete in labor, growth,
or mental and moral character, mature] and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4).
Paul and Timotheus also exhorted the saints
and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colossae, As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted
and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7).
psalmist appropriately teaches us to offer sacrificial thanksgiving unto the Lord - I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call upon the name of the LORD (Psalms 116:17). In psalm 100, we are given a tremendous psalm of praise: Make a joyful noise unto
the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is
he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates [Hebrew, shaar,
opening, door, porter, city] with thanksgiving, and into his courts [Hebrew, chatser, a yard as enclosed by a fence, a hamlet surrounded
by walls, tower, village] with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name (Psalms 100:1-4). In our subject verses, Paul, Silvanus,
and Timotheus exhort us, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you [us all]. AMEN.