“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
When Paul wrote the letter to the church of Thessalonica, he opened with being thankful for their faithfulness to his ministry through support, giving, and encouraging one another. He was also grateful to learn how well they were getting along and spreading the gospel. At the end of his letter, Paul provided a word of encouragement. Paul understood that we could grow weary in well-doing. We can begin to grow tired if we do not see a harvest from the seeds we have sown.
Paul tells them to acknowledge those who work hard, admonish, and care for others. “Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15. Then he ends the letter with, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
His emphasis is a community with one another. We are not individual islands that are only concerned with ourselves because what we do affects others. We should do our best to live in harmony and love with one another. While striving to strengthen our community relationships, we should give thanks to God in every situation. The good, bad, and the ugly. Job said it best, “how can we only accept the God things from God and not the bad.” All of our experiences make us who we are. Each situation is an opportunity to grow and become better in our relationships with ourselves and one another. As we give thanks this month for all that our Creator has provided, may we also give thanks to those within our communities and families. Let us share the same love that God has given to us. Be grateful in all things.
Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy