Give Thanks & Trust the Plan
Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I wanted to interrupt our study of Ephesians to talk about giving thanks. Here’s the thing, Thanksgiving is not turkey day. It’s not about the huge Thanksgiving dinner, even though I love a good Thanksgiving dinner…or any dinner for that matter. It’s not about the football, or the gathering of the family, or even the pilgrims. You see, none of these things are bad, I love food, and family time, and even football, not so much in the last couple of years, but Thanksgiving is a day that our government set aside to give thanks to God for what He has done for us. That’s right our government set aside a day to give thanks to God, so don’t let anyone tell you that this country was not created as a Christian Nation. In fact, just a side note…no charge, the first joint session of the U.S. government consisted of a five-minute speech by George Washington at the Federalist Hall in New York City, followed by all of them walking two blocks to the St. Paul’s Chapel where they prayed for their new country for the remainder of the night. Also, did you know that the first Bibles printed in this country, were printed by Congress to be used in our public schools? Just a little food for thought.
So, what does the Bible say about giving thanks? First, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Did you see that? It says to give thanks in all circumstances. So often we let our circumstances dictate our attitude, but God tells us to give thanks, no matter what is going on around you. Okay, how is this possible? How can we be thankful in every circumstance? Look at Hebrews 12:26-28, “26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed so that only unshakable things will remain. 28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our, God is a devouring fire.” See what it says? “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable”. No matter what happens on this earth, our Kingdom is unshakable! We can always be thankful because we abide in an unshakeable Kingdom. There’s an old song called, His Word Will Stand, and the lyrics say:
His Word will stand
His Word will stand
Though stars should fall
And mountains turn to sand
Though no man believes Him
Still, God will be true
His promise is sure
His love will endure
And forever His Word will stand.
God’s word will stand…always, even if no one believes it, He is unshakable, and His Kingdom is unshakable. This verse goes on to say that, since we have this unshakable Kingdom, we must be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. We throw around the word awesome a lot, but only God is truly awesome…only God is worthy of our awe. So, when we worship God and give thanks, we please Him, and that should be our ultimate goal in life. Let’s face it, pleasing God is why we are here, that’s why He created us.
Colossians 3:15 tells us, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” This passage is telling us how to live a new life in Christ. It tells us that, as different parts of one body…there’s that unity thing again, we must live in peace, and always give thanks…ALWAYS! The next few verses go on to tell us to let Christ’s message fill our lives. What is the message of Christ? The gospel, the good news. Notice it doesn’t say to read about the message of Christ, or to listen to a pastor preach about the message of Christ, it says we must let it fill our liver, verse 16, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” This verse goes on to say that we need to teach and counsel each other, as one body, and sing praises to God with thankful hearts. Then he ends this thought with verse 17 which says, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” So, if you are a follower of Christ, you are an ambassador, whether you know it or not. You represent your Lord to this world, so give thanks!
We can’t allow the things going on around us to dictate our feelings. Remember, no matter what is going on, God has a plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Most of us know this verse, but have you ever read on? Look at the next 2 verses. Jeremiah 29:12-13 say, “12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Don’t just trust in His plan but seek him wholeheartedly! What does Matthew 7:7-8 say? “7 Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Yes, be thankful because God’s got this, but what good is God’s plan if we don’t know what it is? God is not going to force you to do His plan, He wants us to seek after Him and keep on seeking. He wants you to desire to know His plan for your life more than anything. So, to live a happy life, be thankful and seek God’s plan!