From the Pastor’s Desk – Thanksgiving – what images does that word conjure up in your mind? Besides another holiday on the calendar (and long weekend off) for many it is the longest shopping weekend of the year as bargain hunters fight the crowds to get that one item that is priced so low it is unbelievable. For me I am reminded of Pilgrims and turkey and family gatherings and the many things that I am thankful for, and that verse in Scripture about being thankful: “Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Do you know that background for that verse? In Acts 16 Paul and Silas were led of the Spirit to go to Philippi where they began a new church. But after a short time they were beaten and imprisoned for healing a girl possessed of a demon. Upon their release they were encouraged by the city officials to leave the city, which they did after speaking one more time to the new church. Acts 17 tells us that they traveled about a hundred miles south to the city of Thessalonica, where they again preached the gospel and saw many come to Christ. But after only three weeks there the Jews stirred up the crowds and caused a riot. Not being able to find Paul they dragged they leaders of the new church before the city officials. Upon their release the young church encouraged Paul to leave for his safety. But Paul was still concerned about the church in Thessalonica. So he sent Timothy back to check on the church. 1 Thessalonians tells us that Timothy found the church faithful despite the persecution that they faced. In his final words to the church Paul reminded them to REJOICE ALWAYS, to PRAY CONSTANTLY, and to GIVE THANKS IN EVERYTHING. These words were not to remind them that life was so easy so don’t forget God. Rather, it was Paul’s reminder to them to continue being thankful no matter what they faced.
God’s will is that we be thankful in all things – no matter what we face
For Paul these weren’t just words. Paul sang praises at midnight after being beaten. 2 Corinthians 11 gives us a litany of all that Paul suffered. Yet Paul’s attitude was: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 And at the end of his life Paul wrote: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith...To Him be the glory forever and ever! 2 Timothy 4
My encouragement to you is this Thanksgiving to thank God for all those things we face in life – no matter how hard they may seem to be. Because in them God can be glorified. And remember, we are not our own, we have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are the Lord’s. Thankful to be your pastor, Keith