“Giving thanks always” (Ephesians 5:20), “overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2:6), “in everything give thanks” are samplings of Scripture in which we are told how and when to give thanks.
Frequently, I have heard people react to these statements by saying that these Scriptures cannot possibly mean what they seem to mean. They say that God cannot be asking us to do what the words in them as defined by the dictionary imply. They tells us that to take them at face value would mean that God was asking us to do something that is absurd and totally unrealistic. In other words, always can’t mean always and everything can’t mean everything. They suggest that there must certainly be exceptions to what these verses seem to be saying.
Only this morning I had someone tell me in reference to something unpleasant that is happening in my life, “I can’t see why you would have any reason to give God thanks at this time or for this occurrence.” Well, is that true? Is what is happening in my life an exception to the always and everything? Are the statements in the verses I mentioned at the beginning of this blog calling on us to do something that is reasonable and therefore possible or calling on us to do something that is absurd and foolish?
According to the clear teaching of Scripture there are good reasons for taking the challenges of these passages at face value. God is not exhorting us to do something that is irrational. God’s answer is that we have good reason to give thanks always and in everything. In our next blog I want to give you some of those reasons from Scripture, but meanwhile I want to encourage you to research the Scripture to discover for yourself why doing what these verses admonish is not absurd. Hint – the general answer as to why it is not absurd to follow the counsel of these and many other passages of Scripture in reference to the matter of thanksgiving is found in two words. Do you have any idea what those two words might be?