Scripture: 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Ephesians 5:15-20 NLT]
It’s relatively easy to give thanks for everything when things are going well. We tend to remember to thank God for our food when we have a large meal in front of us. We thank God for our family when we are all getting along. We thank God for our work when we are gainfully employed. We give thanks to God when we are living in a nation where peace prevails and there is no war. There are times when always giving thanks is a little easier than others. We should always give thanks in these times for sure. What about the times when life isn’t as good and everything isn’t going well? Should we give thanks then as well?
In the Scripture for today the Apostle Paul says we should “always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There are three parts to that small sentence that call for us to pay attention. First, Paul tells the church at Ephesus to always give thanks to God the Father. The word "always" means all the time or every time. This means that we first must remember to give thanks to God the Father AND when we do give thanks we do it every time. Another way of looking at this teaching of Paul’s is to say that we always give thanks, i.e. there is never a time that we are not giving praise. I believe that the Apostle Paul was telling the Ephesian Christians to live in this way. There is never a time we are not giving praise to God the Father, never. We are always giving thanks to God the Father.
The second part of this sentence, or verse, is why I believe this. Paul tells them they are always giving thanks to God the Father for everything. Yes, it is what you think it is … everything means EVERYTHING. There is not one thing in our life as Christians for which we should not give thanks. We are to thank God for everything. As counterintuitive as it seems, we are to even give thanks to God when things are not going well. This is obviously the most difficult time to give thanks. If we truly believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth, we must believe that God is in everything we experience. We are always giving thanks to God the Father for everything no matter if it seems good to us or bad.
The last part of this verse is why we can give thanks whether good or bad. We give thanks always to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks in Jesus' name knowing that Jesus experienced everything we are going through. Jesus experienced the highest high of being in heaven with God the Father. Jesus experienced the lowest low of torture and death. There isn’t anything that we will ever face that Jesus does not know. We give thanks in the name of the One who knows our every circumstance. We can give thanks with the confidence that Jesus knows that for which we are thankful.
Today, give thanks for everything, at all times, to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t think of anything as too small or insignificant. Don’t think of anything as too difficult or too easy. Give thanks for everything all day long. Keep track of all the things you are giving thanks for throughout the day. At the end of the day, read over your list of everything for which you are thankful. Give thanks again to God the Father for revealing to you the many blessings in your life, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Gracious God, you have given us so much for which we can give thanks. Help me to thank you for everything in my day today, whether I perceive it as good or bad. Empower me to experience your presence through my gratitude for everything. May you receive the honor, glory, and praise through my life today. Amen.