In a cold dark jail cell, away from friends and family, he sat. Every sound reminded him of his fate. The chains that cuffed his ankles and wrists cut into his flesh with every move. He had been unjustly accused, and treated brutally. If ever a person had a right to complain, it was this man. But instead of complaints, he offered words of praise and thanksgiving to God, saying:
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV).
If you haven’t figured it out already, the man was the Apostle Paul.
Imagine, thanking and praising God in all things. Clearly, for Paul, thanksgiving was not just a once a year celebration but rather a daily, moment by moment reality. His attitude changed his life and made him grateful in every situation.
It’s hard to fathom being grateful in a jail cell, or after hearing hard news, or experiencing the loss of a loved one, or losing a job. The pain of a particular event or circumstance can eclipse the blessings of God. If we are honest, so many of us also forget to be grateful in the everyday mundane things of life too. But we are reminded by Paul, to be:
grateful in all things.
Regardless of what’s happing in your life at this moment — good, bad or mundane — God has blessed you in numerous ways.
Take a moment and think about the material blessings that God has given you, and the people in your life, and think about this: even in the midst of whatever is going on in your life today, God is near. God knows what you are facing and God promises to never leave you. God promises to help you. And that is definitely something to be grateful for!