Do It Together: Give Thanks

By The Stream Published on June 9, 2024

I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, CSB)

There I was, on the back row of the church again. And crying, again.

This time, though, the tears weren’t from sadness or loneliness. Instead, they were from an overflow of gratitude for what God had done. Almost a year before this moment, I had crawled into my bed with tears in my eyes. I had learned that the life of the baby in my womb was severely threatened by a hemorrhage and the only way to preserve his life was to be on bed rest for several months. We scrambled to make arrangements for the care of our other children, and I helplessly laid in my bed, praying for the life of our unborn child.

As time went on, he grew and strengthened, and on the day of his birth, he weighed in as the heaviest child we’d had.

That day on the back row of the church came five months after his birth. It occurred to me in that moment all that God had brought us through, how He3 had answered our prayers, and that up until that point, I had never paused to thank Him. I had kept going, moving from one thing to the next. I had been so busy doing the next thing that I hadn’t paused to give thanks.

Communal Effort

I think when we give thanks together, we find the dividing walls between us coming down. When we’re focused on all God has done for us and given to us, we find it more difficult to complain or hold on to an offense.

Paul addresses this in his letter to the Ephesians. As he continues his teaching on how to walk in a manner worthy of the calling of Christ, Paul wrote:

Ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (5:18b-20 AMPC)

There’s so much life in these verses. The attitude of my heart is especially lifted by these phrases: “be filled… with the Holy Spirit,” “speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” “praise… and making melody with all your heart to the Lord,” and “at all times and for everything giving thanks.”

Paul echoed this sentiment in his letter to another early church when he wrote, “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18 HCSB).

In both letters, Paul urges early Christians to give thanks at all times and in everything. You may have noticed some familiar words at the end of the verse in 1 Thessalonians. Paul’s reason for this call to give thanks is because it’s “God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Because we are in Christ, we belong to the body of Christ. Because we belong to Jesus, we have reason to give thanks at all times and for everything. While it may be easier to recount the wrongs that have been done to us or to go into a tailspin in the midst of the problems we face, God’s Word reminds us to give thanks.

Let’s not miss an opportunity to give thanks together. The next time you open your mouth in the company of others, remember the gift of gratitude.

 

Katy McCown joins Randy Robison and Tammy Trent this Tuesday on LIFE Today. Excerpted from She Belongs by Katy McCown. Copyright Β©2023 Katy McCown. Published by Esther Press, a division of David C Cook. Used by permission.

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