Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) One morning a man walked into my office and said he needed some help. He was hitch hiking from Colorado to Arkansas. It was a cold, windy morning and he wondered if he might get a room for a night or two. The ministerial alliance policy is one night in a motel. As we talked, he told me how he had accepted Christ awhile back and was trying to get his life back together. I checked his identification with the sheriff’s office and questioned him about the ID having just been issued the first of the month. He responded that he had lost his billfold and had to get a new ID. In my mind I wondered because the ID was from Arkansas and he said he had been in Colorado at the time. Since he checked out ok, I called the motel and they said they had a room for the night. I told him he could hang out at the church where it was warm. He could eat dinner with the senior citizens and we would get him to the motel at check in time. He saw the washer and dryer and asked if he could do his laundry so while he waited he did his laundry and had lunch with the seniors. When I returned after lunch he was ready to go to the motel. When I told him check in time isn’t until between 2:30 and 3:00, he picked up his back pack and stormed out saying I will go someplace else. No thank you for the meal, the laundry or anything- just out the door in a huff. I made a couple calls so other pastor’s would know what was going on and he did appear at another church. When he admitted he had talked to another pastor he was told that he would have to come back and see me. He also left there church upset as well.
As I thought about this man’s actions I wondered if we, as Christians, are any different. The scripture says give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn’t say “give thanks forall circumstances.” How many of us give God thanks for our warm home, a good meal, a closet full of clothes and the list could go on and on? But just as important is giving thanks when the officer gives a ticket that we deserve, giving thanks when the diagnosis is not good, or giving thanks following the death of a loved one. This list could go on and on, too. You see in my reading and thinking about that scripture it says inall circumstances. We can give thanks because our Lord and Savior walks with us in all circumstances. Because of this we need to give thanks always. We can give thanks for who God is, for what He does in our lives, for the strength and courage He gives us…This experience reminded me to “give thanks always” even when we are taken advantage of because God is still God. I hope each of us takes the time to give thanks each day for the blessings we receive but also for the difficulties, because we grow in those difficulties.
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