Is there a silver lining to EVERY cloud?

Thankfulness in Ministry

I Thess. 5:18…4 simple words.  “In everything give thanks.”  Sometimes I think God makes the point short and sweet.

With all that happens during the day, I sometimes wonder if it is even possible to give thanks in everything.  How is it possible to really be thankful when things are so bad?  Is there really a silver lining to every cloud?

Surrounding this 4 word encouragement “in everything give thanks” we see other words of instruction that we need to take note of.  Things like encourage others, pursue what is good for yourself and others, pray, pray, pray, rejoice, do not stifle the Holy Spirit are disciplines to work at each day.  Notice: All of these things require us to have a spiritual perspective.  Without eyes looking through that spiritual lense, it will be impossible to do any of them.  They are all spiritual in nature.

It would be easy to be frustrated with a busybody in your church that has hurt you.  In everything give thanks.  You have an opportunity to speak truth, extend grace, and grow in your faith.

Your child walks away from God’s best to pursue their own life and you are left fearful for their future.  In everything give thanks.  God has given you his Spirit of peace, you are a voice of truth in their life, and you get to brush up on your prayer time.

You are drained, lonely, and alone.  In everything give thanks.  You learn to be real with a close few.  You understand and can connect with others that feel this way.  You sense the Father’s closeness in a way you never have.

Sometimes I think we read these passages and think because the message is short, it means it’s easy.  Giving thanks in everything is NOT easy.  It requires a constant releasing of our wants, our hopes, and our desire to hold on.  It’s just so easy for our focus to be on ourselves that when things get tough, it’s unnatural to be thankful.  But as with any spiritual discipline, we must work each day.

I have found the following to be helpful in finding how to be thankful in those hard situations:

  1. Bullet Journal – list out, short words, what the positive outcomes may be.
  2. Start a Thankfulness Blog – what better way to help others see the beauty in being thankful then sharing your journey with others.
  3. While waiting at a stoplight, say out loud what you can be thankful for in the midst of what you’re going through.
  4. Write verses on sticky notes about being thankful and put them on the mirror in the bathroom, the refrigerator door, and the dash—right next to the speedometer.
  5. Set an appointment in your phone “Be Thankful” and schedule an alarm to remind you at a certain time of day to “Be Thankful”…then in your “tasks” section, make note of what you thought of.

It’s human to struggle with finding things to be thankful for when we are in a fallen world.  But it wouldn’t be sandwiched in the middle of other great statements in I Thess. 5 if it weren’t something that will improve our life and perspective on life.  Give it a try….go set an alarm on your phone to remind you, tomorrow, to “Be Thankful”.

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