Giving Thanks

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” Philippians 4:6.

Let’s break this down.

“Don’t worry about anything” is so much easier said than done! It’s hard even to imagine not worrying, let alone actually pulling it off. It helps to know that the word translated as “worry” literally means “to divide into pieces;” so, we could read this verse as “Don’t let anything tear you apart inside.” It is impossible for us not to be concerned about some things, but when that concern tears us up inside and turns to obsession, we pass into a realm of judging God. Let’s just say it this way: “Don’t let the circumstances swirling around you pull you into the whirlwind.”

“Pray about everything; tell God your needs” seems much easier than that first point, but guess what… we still generally don’t do it. Sometimes we think that simple things are within our control and that we need not bother God with them. As we withhold things from God, we withhold ourselves from his love and blessings. Remember that God already knows what we are facing. Mentioning things to him is for our benefit, taking them off our plates and putting them on his. Additionally, being in constant prayer deepens our relationship with God. He and we become one in those moments. Let’s not rob ourselves of these good things!

“Don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” All too often, once the crisis is over, we are quick to move on to the next thing and forget thank God for his actions. Jesus experienced this first hand as he healed ten lepers, but only one of them actually came back to thank him (Luke 17:11-19). Who do we resemble, the one or the nine? When was the last time you paused, found a quiet place, and lifted up praise and thanksgiving during your day?

Today is Thanksgiving. Most of us are surrounded by family, food, and football, and that is well and good. Simply remember to truly thank God. Maybe take some time around the table and share things that you are each thankful for. There is always plenty to worry about, in our lives and our world, but let us all commit right now to spending more time giving thanks for God’s blessings, rather than stressing over the circumstances surrounding us. Take those worries off of your plate, this Thanksgiving, and put them on God’s.

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