Pastoral Perspectives

An Attitude of Thanksgivings

It is easier to grumble than to give thanks.  For the slightest mistake made by others, we tend to become angry and unhappy.  Very often, we tend to excuse ourselves for the mistakes that we have made.  How do we turn things around?  In order to have a grateful heart, we need to look at our attitudes.  Our attitudes towards others and towards ourselves need to turn around, i.e. need to change.  We need to learn from the Word of God, the Bible, in order to have the right attitude.  We need to rely upon the grace of God to accomplish what our God wants us to accomplish.

A wonderful example is recorded for us by the Apostle Paul.  He does not succumb himself to negative thoughts and negative attitudes.  When he was in the prison, he mentioned that “because of his chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Philippians 1:14).  He also realized that there were those who preached Christ out of envy and rivalry.  These preached Christ out of selfish ambition rather than sincerely.  Did this action disturb or trouble the Apostle Paul?  Obviously no!  What is more encouraging is that the Apostle Paul mentioned that “the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (Philippians 1:18).  This deserves an attitude of thanksgivings.  I believe that he was thankful that the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached.  With a heart of thanksgivings, he was able to rejoice, even in such situation.

How did Paul relate with those whom he had discipled and helped in the faith?  Every time Paul remembers the Philippian believers he would give thanks to God for them.  He always thanks God for the Thessalonian believers too.  He thanked God for their work produced by faith, their labour prompted by love and their endurance inspired by hope.  Similarly, every time we recall those whom we have guided in the faith, we ought to give thanks to God for each one of them who loves the Word and obeys the Word.  We should thank God that they are still walking with our Lord Jesus and worshipping Him.  Paul’s prayers for them were often coupled with thanksgivings.  We can also thank God for their receptiveness to the Gospel and for their willingness to give their lives to Jesus.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  By offering thanksgivings to God, we are telling God how grateful we are for everything which He has given to us, even for the unpleasant things in our lives.  Your thankfulness will enable you to see God’s purposes for your lives.  Having an attitude of thanksgivings, our perspective of life will brighten up.  Others, who saw our attitude of thanksgivings, will praise God for what He has done in our lives and perhaps, also be drawn close to God themselves.

Today is Easter’s day.  Let us focus on our Lord Jesus and offer our thanks to Him.  Thank God that Jesus is alive!  How do we respond to the death of Jesus?  Without His death, there would be no resurrection.  Without His resurrection, there would be no salvation.  Without salvation, there would be no forgiveness and no redemption.  This means that we would all be still in our sins and would be eternally lost.  “But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57).  Let us ponder over the purpose of the death of Jesus Christ and pour forth from our hearts, a fragrance of thanksgivings to our loving God.

Let me, at this moment, share the lyrics of this song with you.

With a voice of thankfulness, I bring my heart to You;
Knowing how You’ve cared for me and loved me like You do;
For the years you’ve held my hands, hard times you’ve seen through;
Lord of life, You’ve been my friend;
How can I ever thank You!

So, let us, during this Easter time onwards, reflect on the faithfulness and goodness of God and offer our thanksgivings to our great and gracious God!  To Him who seats on the throne and at the right hand of God be glory, honour and praise forever more!  Amen.