“…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20
There is a reality show called Alone in which individual contestants are dropped into a remote wilderness to live off the land and their wits. Equipped with the basics for survival, cameras to report their progress, and a satellite phone to “tap out” when they have had enough, the last man or woman standing receives half a million dollars.
After going two weeks without finding any game to eat, one woman, hungry and demoralized, turned 45 years old and made a birthday wish. She then went out to check her traps and behold! – a rabbit was snared. Delighted and teary-eyed over finally having a meal, she searched for words to express her emotion, finally landing on “Thank you, rabbit gods!”
Her reaction illustrates something we all instinctively know, namely, that when something good happens to us, there is someone to thank for it, even if it is “rabbit gods.” In fact, truth be told, we all know there is a divine Giver. When Paul explains the fallen human condition he says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Romans 1:21). The choice to thank rabbit gods or anything else instead of the true God is a choice not to thank the One whom we know is responsible for our good things.
But God in his mercy sent his Son into the world to turn our affections and our thankfulness back to the right place. By the cross and the Spirit, we become people who are “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Always means it is a continual habit. For everything means we trust that every pleasing providence and every difficult affliction has behind it a loving Father who means to do us ultimate good by them. So we thank him.
And this we can do, because in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we have much to thank God for even in a year like 2020. Consider the blessings you have in Christ:
- You don’t need to atone for your sins, because Jesus did that for you (Hebrews 10:12)
- You don’t need to worry about falling short of God’s standards because through faith you have Christ’s perfect record of obedience (Romans 5:19)
- You never face anything alone, for God is with you by his Spirit (John 14:23)
- You are promised to have God’s help in all things (Isaiah 41:10)
- Even your afflictions are not random, but have a sanctifying purpose (Psalm 119:71)
- You will be raised from the dead in a new immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:53)
- You have an eternal inheritance that is being kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4)
- You will live with Jesus in a world without sin, sorrow, or danger (Revelation 21:4-5)
If you are a believer, these blessings and more all belong to you. We have reason to give thanks always… to God the Father. May your hearts be warmed by the memory and expectation of God’s blessings to you in Jesus Christ this week and always.