A few years ago, Leslie became enamored with the Mitford series, a collection of books that focused upon the ministry of a small-town, Episcopal priest who was affectionately called Father Tim. Every evening, I would find her consumed in her literary pursuit as she moved from page to page; and I admit that I dared not interrupt her. Rather, I waited until she emerged from her text and shared Father Tim’s journey. On one such occasion, Leslie drew insight from the priest’s sermonic prowess and offered her suggestion. “Reg,” she said, “I’ve just discovered the best sermon ever.” “Yes?” I responded, not sure where this was about to go. She then related her thought: “Father Tim stepped to the pulpit, opened his Bible to 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and read ‘In everything, give thanks.’ He then sat down. Isn’t that a great sermon? Why don’t you preach a message like that?”
Of course, I have never quite delivered such a brief sermon (I know you are shocked!), but I recognize her point. There is something impactful about the simple, all-encompassing truth of that injunction. The straightforward command to believers is give thanks. And what is more? Our gratitude should be expressed in every imaginable context, in every imaginable way. The literal translation of 1 Thessalonians, “in all, give thanks,” underscores the exhaustive nature of our thanksgiving. I am actually convinced that Paul purposely left the word all vague. As such, it could mean “in all things,” “in all ways,” “in all times,” “in all contexts,” etc. We thank God for everything by using every method at our disposal in every moment of our lives. Our appreciation for God and His blessings is to be evident “in all.” Pretty comprehensive for four English words, isn’t it?
This week, let’s stop and praise our Lord for Who He is and what He has done. Thank Him for our daily provision. Recount the blessings of family and friendship. Exalt His saving Name, and express gratitude for forgiveness. Even express your thanksgiving for the limitations/weaknesses He leaves in your life. In other words, “in everything, give thanks!”
Thank you for letting my family be a part of your lives. Each week, we are reminded of how blessed we are to serve here at Temple. God is doing some new things within our midst, and I am excited about sharing those opportunities with you. God is good! And He has been especially good to our church! Thanks be to Him for that lavish grace! No doubt, we are loved by Him!