Power of Thanksgiving

Spiritual filled people function differently than the rest of the world. Paul the apostle was one of them. He hinted several times as to how he lived in a constant state of victory: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you". (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) And, "...giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ephesians 5:20). Notice ...in everything, for everything, give thanks!

For a number of years I wondered how anyone could pray without ceasing and always rejoice. Is it that you pray in tongues under your breath all the time? That may be part of it, but I feel the truth lies somewhere else even simpler. Its by being thankful. Thanksgiving is the practical outworking of the exhortation to rejoice always and offer unceasing prayer to God.

Thanksgiving is not just an action, it is a state of being: "That we who first trusted in Christ should 'be' to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:12).

Some find it hard to give thanks in everything but eventually find a way to do it. Many have great conflict in thanking God for everything. 'Why would I thank God for evil people, bad circumstances, crooked politicians...et al?' First of all, because Paul said to, and secondly, because the power of thanksgiving doesn't lie within that for which we are thankful. It lies within itself. Thanksgiving contains redemptive and creative powers. At the very least it will transform you. At times it will even change your circumstances. Its power lies within the practice, not the object.

Prior to takeoff but after settling down in my seat on an airplane, I picked up my backpack from under the seat in front of me and searched for my iPad. I couldn't find it and began to feel that sick sense one gets when you lose something of value. I thought I must have left it at security when I sent my electronics through the x-ray machine. I became frustrated, anxious about it, and began to complain. I was on a ministry trip and my messages were on the iPad. As I complained the Lord reminded me to be thankful that I had lost it. That challenged me, because I was not thankful. Against all reason and personal feeling I began to thank Him that I had lost my iPad. I also called my wife before we took off and asked her to call airport security to see if it had been turned in. As I did, a person in the row behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if the iPad she had found on the floor was mine. Maybe I would have found it later. The person who found it could have kept it. Who knows? I believe my act of thanksgiving was the key to its return.

Thanksgiving is not just an aspect of the will of God. It is the will of God. Without it we will not become all He has called us to be and we will not find our ultimate fulfillment in Him.