The man said, "Oh, you're one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don't have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!" Ironside said, "Yes, you're just like my dog. That's what he does too!"
This is the month of the year that we celebrate Thanksgiving, although it ought to be something we do every day. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “... give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
It is easy for us to fall into the thinking that says that all I have has come through the sweat of my brow. As Christians we know that we have been recipients of great blessings from God, at least we know it in theory. But underneath this thinking lies this other voice that says that we don’t need to be so obvious about it. There are some Church-goers who believe that it is fine to give thanks for food at a Church function but that it is embarrassing to be caught praying at a public establishment like a restaurant. You would wonder if they really believe that God is the source of all their blessings.
Then there are some Christians who have much less than others and yet always give thanks no matter where they are. Some even are suffering from various disabilities. Some are living in war zones. Some are being persecuted for their faith.
Christian blogger Casey Hobb wrote: “In the middle of last century there was a pastor named Richard Wurmbrand. He had the misfortune of surviving Nazi rule to live under Communist rule in his native Romania. Can you imagine? Being arrested by both the Nazis and Communists in the course of ten or fifteen years? How would you feel about Jesus’ words, when you found yourself persecuted for righteousness’ sake over and over again? What if you were ripped away from your wife and children and placed in solitary confinement for a decade? What if that happened twice?
These questions were not hypothetical to Wurmbrand. He spent somewhere around twenty years as a guest of the state for doing nothing but preaching the gospel of Jesus. He was rewarded for his faithfulness to the word by being abducted, secluded and whipped. And as horrifying as Wurmbrand’s situation was, his reaction was just as surprising. At least for those of us who would equate missing a football game with suffering for the gospel, it is surprising.
He rejoiced. He sang. He danced.”
Now that is giving thanks in all circumstances. What inspires a person to live like that? Richard Wurmbrand knew that he was loved by God. Jesus had died for His sins. He accepted this gift with gratitude and Jesus took up residence in his heart. The Holy Spirit empowered him to give thanks. The more we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the more our hearts will be filled with gratitude for the cross and for everything else God provides for us. May you and I be filled with the same Spirit as Richard Wurmbrand.