Thankfulness and Peace

Here before I hit the sack for the night this beautiful Sabbath evening, I’ve just been just meditating on the past week.  One of the things that hit me was that I had gotten away from being as thankful as I should be.

The thought that our woes outweigh our blessings is an easy one to entertain, but rarely is it an accurate one.  In my life when I slow down and begin to look for those things that I should be thankful for, it really is amazing how endless the list becomes.  And when I do take the time to stop and thank God for those things, it is just as amazing how small my concerns become — how a sense of perspective begins to emerge.

The passage of Scripture that came to mind concerning this was Philippians 4:6-7 —

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

That connection between peace and being thankful is easy to miss.  Most of us are familiar with the concepts of praying to God and “casting all your care upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7), and this passage in Philippians mentions those things.  Yet Paul purposefully includes the condition that we are to pray to God “with thanksgiving.”  How often do we miss that?

If we are praying to God and seeking His peace but not finding it, could it be — at least sometimes — because we are missing that vital ingredient?  Could it be because we are not praying with thanksgiving?

In the past I have encouraged those in my congregations to try, every once and a while, to spend time with God in prayer doing nothing but expressing thanks — not asking for anything but merely thanking Him.  I have often been told that it is harder than it seems it should be, and I agree!  And yet I have so much to be thankful about.

The Apostle Paul prophesied long ago that the end of the age would be a time of unthankfulness (2 Timothy 3:2).  We have to remember that while we strive not to be of the world, we do live in it, and we are exposed to its influence daily.  And I don’t want a lack of gratitude — an attitude of unthankfulness — to become a part of me.  I imagine that you feel the same way.

I really do have so much to thank God for.  Don’t you?  May we all strive to be a truly thankful people, and in doing so may we experience that peace of God that surpasses all understanding even more fully.

Have a wonderful Sabbath.

6 thoughts on “Thankfulness and Peace

  1. Pingback: Living Church of God - East Missouri » Thoughts on Thankfulness and Peace

  2. You point is a very good one. Sometimes we get caught up so much in our busy-ness that we forget how God can lead (and even carry) us through the busy times.

    I felt that this past week, doing a couple of marathon shifts on my job — shifts which have been made much tougher recently, due to staff cuts and revamping. I prayed for strength and peace of mind in advance. God granted both.

    And then when Sabbath comes after a long busy week, I’m extra thankful that God loves us enough to give us a day of rest. (Well, maybe not for ministers?! :–> )

  3. Thankfulness is certainly an ingredient that Israelites in particular have a hard time maintaining. Sometimes, as I loathe driving into work on monday mornings, I have to start praying as I go that I am thankful that I have a job that pays the bills and feeds the family.

  4. A constant stream of little miracles have been happening to me. I could chalk up the occasional incident as a matter of chance. The thing is, there’s been too many of them.

    A rattlesnake crawls over the top of my foot, but it doesn’t bite me. A sudden wind blows aside a tree that was falling on me. A severley torn calf muscle heals during Passover. (I’m not making this stuff up).

    The problem is, I’m not a righteous man. I spend my waking hours being disappointed by my failures to live up to God’s standards. I ask, “why are You being nice to me? I don’t deserve it.”

    I found the answer in Psalm 103.

    It makes me more determined to do a better job of honoring His commands. I’m trying to watch my behavior and thoughts much more closely than I did in the past. The underserved act of kindness – how do you express your thankfulness for that?

  5. Deano

    Hello Mr. Smith,

    Thanks much for the thoughts on thankfulness and gratitude. It really is easy to slip into that general attitude of a sense of entitlement that so permeates our society. It also seems that it is easy to become rote in our thanksgiving to God. Really, we do have more to be thankful for than we can remember to give Him thanks for.

    As King David put it:

    Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

  6. Merrilee

    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

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