Today I was reading Ephesians 5. It’s not where I’m reading chronologically, but I was reading an article in Tabletalk that mentioned Ephesians 5 several times, so I thought that I would open up my book and see for myself what it said. Mostly, the passage was speaking about love, and how we as Christians should walk in love and be imitators of God. It reminded me of the greatest commandment–to love the Lord and our neighbors. Also, Jesus tells us that all men will know that we are His disciples, if we have love for one another (John 13:34-35.) Love. It’s so hard, yet so important. How much easier is it to simply ignore the other person and satisfy your own desires?
But two little phrases popped out at me as I was reading about love. Not only are we to walk in love, but twice in verses 4-20, Paul calls us to be thankful. He says, “let there be thanksgiving” and to be “giving thanks always…” (vs. 4, 20.) Today, Dad left for his deployment and it’s more difficult to feel thankful in all things at the present moment. But, God know best. Even if He’s calling us to do hard things that we would rather not have to do. We still need to be thankful and give thanks. To me, these two commands sound like two slightly different things.
First, “be thankful.” That’s my attitude and feelings. I would imagine that it’s almost like looking back on all I have and feeling/being thankful for everything that God has given me and blessed me with. Maybe that one is more of a heartfelt thanks, while the second command is more verbal.
“Giving thanks always” is an action…a person can hear someone else “giving thanks.” They can look at the person who is “being thankful” and see from their attitude and spirit that they are thankful. From this second command, one can hear a verbal acknowledgement of the gifts that the person giving thanks is offering to their God Sustainer and Provider.
Both in my heart and in my mouth I should be thankful and giving thanks. One isn’t enough; it must be both in thought and deed.
David time and time again calls us to “give thanks,” to “come into His presence with thanksgiving,”or to “offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Ps 1:9 to give one example from many of “give thanks”, Ps 95:2, 107:22.) David says he will “give thanks” at least 30 times in the Psalms–do we even give thanks to God 30 times a month [or once a day]?
I pray I will be more thankful, even when life seems stormy (or dusty as the case may very well be) and it’s hard to see the SON through all the rain. He is still there, and always as bright as before, if not brighter. The “rain” strengthens us and God’s Holy Son feeds us every day for His glory.