2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.
Everything is a gift for which we must give thanks. As children one of the first things we are taught is gratefulness. “Say, ‘Thank you,’” was constantly on my lips when you were babies as a reminder to be grateful for what you were given. It is polite and kind but it is also an obligation. When we receive a gift, the correct response is thankfulness.
The Bible tells us in many places to give thanks.
1 Chronicles 16:8 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.”
Psalm 92:1 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.”
Ephesians 5:20 “…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Somehow, practically speaking, it is easy to think of giving thanks as a suggestion – we should give thanks because it will make the giver feel good and not regret his gift. But many of the Bible verses speak of thanksgiving as an obligation. Paul praises God for the Thessalonian believers saying, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting . . .”
Paul understood that everything (and I mean everything) comes from the Lord. He saw it as his responsibility and obligation to vocally express his gratitude for all Jesus Christ had done and was doing in his own life and in the lives of other believers.
Try to think of any blessing that does not come from the Father. Those who work hard and are successful – who gave them their strong minds and bodies? Those who enjoy a loving family – did they have any say in their birth? Sunshine, cool breezes, and good food – where does it all come from if not from our heavenly Father? Even the very air we constantly draw into our lungs comes from Him.
What about the difficulties life affords? The Lord, also, carefully doles them, out. He sends storms to water the earth, trials to strengthen our faith, and burdens to draw us to Himself. He gives peace with God through Jesus Christ and divine power, which equips us for living the way we were designed to live.
Paul begins and ends many of his letters by expressing his thanks to God. His life was marked by gratefulness and reliance on God’s gifts. He never forgot what God had done for him and was constantly aware of all God was doing in the lives of those whom he deeply cared about. Thanksgiving was a consistent attitude and action in his life.
I think it’s time for us to review our own lessons from childhood. Give credit where credit is due! Consider all that God has done and, “Say, ‘Thank you!’” This is not a nice suggestion but a very important obligation!