The problem is, for some reason things in life aren't proportional. The negative things in life suck a lot more life out of us than the good things in life put back in. I can have a phenomenal day in which great things are happening, and then walk into a really difficult counseling appointment that completely drains me. That one hour takes more out of me than 7 hours of God's obvious blessing puts in.
The Thessalonians were living during a difficult time. The Roman government was strengthening its grip, and the Christians in Thessalonika were feeling the pressure. So much, in fact, that they believed they were living in the Tribulation and had missed Jesus returning for them. Their days were worse than a couple of bad counseling appointments. Their friends were being threatened, persecuted, and killed for their faith.
Those things will suck (sometimes literally) the life out of you.
But Paul reminds them about gratitude: "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Can you imagine?
I can think of a lot of emotions that would flood my life under those circumstances. Gratitude isn't one of them.
But Paul's words are pretty clear, "Be thankful in all circumstances."
Why be thankful in everything? Because we need the reminder. We need the discipline to recognize God's blessing even during difficult times.
Many of you are headed into a Thanksgiving season where you're feeling the pinch of some difficult times. They're all you can see. And Paul's words seem cold and harsh. But can I promise you something? He knows what he's talking about.
Look hard for something to be thankful for, even during these circumstances. It's God's will for you.
For the rest of us - those of us for whom life is clicking along pretty well - we need the reminder too. Because we can get complacent and forget to be thankful to God for His blessing. Be thankful in all circumstance. God has been good to us.
Have a great Thanksgiving.