Friday, November 24, 2023

Living in Surrender and Gratitude

 Friday, November 24, 2023

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Living in Surrender and Gratitude by Lara Cook
Selective thanksgiving is something we all have done possibly without realizing it.  We are thankful for what we see as beneficial to our life and health, we are thankful for what we like and the prayers that are answered the way we think they should be answered. True thankfulness is not merely acknowledging what we see as good, but knowing that He is good and everything He gives is good, and that means even giving thanks for some hard things.  

In Luke 22:19 Jesus shows us the way to give thanks.  He is about to be crucified and He knows it – not the circumstances most would feel thankful for, yet He was thankful for the grace and glory that was to result form the cross.    And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.  The Greek word for “thanks” in this verse is eucharisteo.  Ann Voskamp explains this word beautifully:

The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be a gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.

When we give God thanks for the gifts He gives, He gives another gift back to us – joy. When we can be grateful and joyful in every circumstance, we see things differently.  Our perspective changes, and Thanksgiving becomes not just a day, but a way of life. That means that we don’t have to wait for things to change or get better or search endlessly for  joy.  It is here and now, in every circumstance, when we can give thanksgiving to God.   

A heart of gratitude will be a content heart.  Pain, gratitude, and contentment can actually co-exist even though it may not be our favorite trio of feelings.  Being thankful in all things certainly doesn’t mean we are thankful for the circumstances we are in. It means that – in spite of the circumstances we are thankful because we know and understand who God is.  Ann Voskamp also said Thanksgiving is the one thing God asks to be done in everything and always…He knows what precedes the miracle.  In every circumstance God is at work for some purpose.  It may simply be for us to learn to be thankful in everything.  Or it may be that this circumstance you are in right now is a tiny piece of the miracle He has ahead in your life.  Until we can be thankful in each circumstance – or piece of the miracle - we cannot see the next piece. Every little piece makes the whole and its all important. 

Help your children to understand this life-giving principle.  All we have, we have because of Him and we need to model gratitude to God for everything, and in every circumstance.  We are our children’s first perception of God.  We need to show our kids an attitude of gratitude in good times and bad. 

This week as we celebrate Thanksgiving, remember these three words, grace, thanksgiving, and joy.  Eucharisteo. Jesus is the only way we are able to give thanksgiving at all times and in all circumstances. Through Him we live a life of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving to Him because of who He is and that everything from Him is good, whether heavy or light, will bring us the joy we so desperately need.  

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

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