“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –I Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving is easy in those circumstances that meet our needs, or when people live up to standards we place upon them. The disciple of Jesus, however, is to have gratitude in ALL circumstances.
We gather each Sunday to sing songs making melody to the Lord with our heart (Ephesians5:20), yet these songs are filled with our thanksgiving to God (Ephesians5:21). Much like Psalm 69:30, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving!” Our grateful songs are to be a shared thanksgiving in all circumstances together.
What about those times our hearts feel low, or we just don’t feel joyful enough? We are tempted to use that to not attend Sunday services or, worse, to go and injure the church with our flaming tongues (James 3:6, 4:1). The temptation keeps us from God’s mercy, the very thing we need most.
Grief and trouble comes in this life, and these things weigh heavy upon our hearts. I think the hymn writer Robert Robinson says it right, “tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” The prayer of a child to the Father, “Lord, my troubled heart feels low and troubled. Tune my heart to sing with the saints with a thankful heart.” We must be reminded of His rich mercy and goodness. We must hear the gospel. When we hear of the joys we wait for together, we rejoice with thanksgiving together.
Grumbling never builds up the church or encourages the faith; but thanksgiving in all circumstances magnifies the Lord. We can rejoice in God’s goodness, or we can complain about what did not meet our standards; either people or things. Paul told the church in Philippi whom he called “my joy and my crown” that he had learned to be satisfied in all circumstances (Philippians 4:10-13). If I am fully satisfied in Christ alone, I can rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians4:4) and let my thanksgiving and requests be made known to God (Philippians4:6).
When heavy hearts grumble or grieve, let us encourage joyful thanksgiving. When our own hearts need tuning to sing His praise, let us receive admonishment with gratitude before God. When we hear the call to worship, “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3), let us resolve to enter Sunday morning with expectation to hear His gospel, tuning our hearts to rejoice, and magnify the name of God with thanksgiving together.
Heavenly Father, our hearts become burdened, pierced with griefs, or cold from our own pride. Help us to cast these weights aside, Lord. Tune our hearts to sing Your worthy praise, songs from the hearts of Your grateful people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.