Pastoral Perspectives

Give Thanks To God!

Grumblings (i.e. murmurings) are not going to work! They only cause the situation to worsen. They are the attitudes of a sinful heart. In the Old Testament, we saw how the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron. In Exodus 16:2-3 ESV, the Word of God states that the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” When you are asked to do something, do you do them with a glad heart or a grumbling heart? I encountered this kind of unpleasant attitude just last week. Instead of a glad and willing heart, I did it with a grumbling heart! I was reminded of why I was doing what I was doing. Inconveniences affect our mood of doing things sometimes! When I finally got to do them and completed them, I suddenly realised that they were necessities rather than inconveniences. If the things which were supposed to be done were left undone, what would the implications be? This really taught me a lesson of having a right attitude towards what I was thinking and doing. It is a learning curve which I need to learn and am still learning.

With a humble and teachable heart, then shall I really overcome the obstacle of doing anything, especially doing them to the Lord and for the Lord. In the New Testament, I know that I should “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” (Philippians 2:14 ESV). The purpose is very clear. It is so that “you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15 ESV). In order to be that bright shining light for Christ, I ought to live my life differently, not that of the world, not following the patterns of this world but that of Christ.

“Give Thanks To God” is a good and right attitude which I should cultivate in my life in Christ. All other things must go but Christ Jesus must reign in my life! Christ Jesus must increase but I must decrease. (John 3:30 ESV). There must not be any struggles in my heart but peace of heart and mind in doing what God wants me to do. Most importantly, I must be thankful. This is what Colossians 3:15 ESV has taught and ministered to me: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” For the sake of Christ and His Body, for the sake of the Unity of the Church, the peace of Christ in our hearts is crucial. What we do does affect others, whether we like it or not. There are always implications in what we are doing affecting the whole community of believers.

“Be Thankful” in our hearts release us in what we are doing for one another and especially for the building up of the Body of Christ. I am aware and realise that it is never easy to have a thankful heart. At the same time, I know that, by the grace of Christ and the help of the Spirit of God, I shall be empowered to do so. If it is impossible to accomplish, the apostle Paul would not have told the Thessalonians Christians to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV).

Recently, I thank God for:

  1. Turning my sorrow into His joy.
  2. Turning my disappointment into His appointment.
  3. Turning my failure into His success.
  4. Turning my negativism into His positivism.
  5. Turning my discouragement into His encouragement.

So, no matter what situation or circumstance which we are in, we need to look at them with the right perspective. “Give Thanks To God” will help us appreciate what God has in store for us and at the same time, help us entrust the whole matter into the loving hands of our generous and kind Heavenly Father. As for me, I thank God for all that He has allowed in my life, though many a time, I may not understand but I am confident that He knows how I feel and that He will provide me with the strength to carry me through and to help me go through them all. My encouragement to all of us is: to give thanks to God regularly, knowing that God has our best interests at His tender-loving heart.

Preacher George Ang

August 4, 2019