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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

November 1, 2023

The Bible Edge

Thank You Lord

I Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

A new month means a new theme. How about thanksgiving? Not Thanksgiving the holiday, but thanksgiving of the heart. After all, one aspect of the universal will of God for every person is to give thanks in every thing. Think about that for a moment this month. Giving thanks for every thing. Every thing. Not just the good things, or the desired things, or the easy things, but every thing. It’s easy to give thanks to God for a windfall of money, but how about thanking Him for suffering a set back, an unwelcome health diagnosis, or persecution? These and so much more are part of every thing. Within the bounds of the human condition there will be a range of events that enter into each life, in each of these events thanks giving for them is one aspect that is often overlooked.

To those who love God, who are called according to His purpose, there is a promise that …all things work together for good… Romans 8:28. Many quote this verse but many also fail to live within it’s boundaries when difficulties arise. Romans 8:28, for the believer in Christ, is like a strategy in boxing. But just as the famous boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a strategy until they get hit in the mouth.” When we are figuratively “hit in the mouth” our wonderful, peaceful, tranquil, and inviting strategy of …in every thing give thanks… often is forgotten in the heat of emotion, hurt, and anger. This is like that verse that tells God’s Children to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39, Luke 6:29). This is our strategy, it’s what we want to do, that is until we suffer the pain of being hit on one cheek.

Back to the subject. Finding the way to give thanks for all things is the first step in humbling oneself when blessings come, and overcoming those unwelcome things that invade a life. By doing this, giving thanks, something supernatural takes place. It’s indescribable. It is one of those things that has to be experienced to understand. Giving thanks to God costs nothing except a little time to pray, a heart that is truly thankful, and perhaps some humility. And therein is the primary reason many do not practice the continual grace of giving thanks. Pride.

I was once in New York City. Upon entering a store in Manhattan, I noticed about three ladies behind me coming into the same store. So, as I was raised, I stopped and held the door open for these women. None said thank you. Instead of giving thanks to God for their lack of gratitude, I failed to keep my strategy and said in a voice loud enough for them to hear “You’re welcome.” To which the last female person stopped, turned to me, and in no uncertain terms told me that she did not need me to hold the door, did not ask me to open the door, and was frankly offended that I did hold the door open like she was some weak thing that needed a man to help her with anything. I wish I had kept my strategy and just thanked the Lord for allowing me to be a servant to others and to understand how He felt when I didn’t give Him thanks for holding my door open. I was proverbially hit in the mouth and forgot all about my strategy of giving thanks for all things.

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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