Summary: We are commanded to be thankful for any difficulties (green beans) that come our way.
Thanking God for Green Beans
Six green beans sat on his daughter’s plate, untouched. Mike Benson says that sort of thing usually didn’t bother him, but that night it did. “Eat your green beans,” he told the eight-year-old.
“Dad, I’m full to the top.”
“You won’t pop,” he responded.
“Yes, I will pop!” she said.
“Risk it!” he said. “It will be okay.”
“Dad, I could not eat another bite.”
Mike knew they were having her favorite dessert, so he asked, “How would you like a double helping of pumpkin pie with two scoops of whipped cream on top?”
“That sounds great!” She responded as she pushed her plate back, ready for dessert.
“How can you have room for a double helping of pumpkin pie with two scoops of whipped cream, and not have room for six measly green beans?”
She stood up from her chair and pointing to one side of her belly said, “This is my vegetable stomach. Over here is my meat stomach. They are both full. Here (pointing to the other side) is my desert stomach. It is empty. I am ready for dessert!”
Life is a lot like eating green beans and pumpkin pie.
We would love so much to enjoy the deserts in life, and there’s probably not anyone in here that loves deserts as much as I do –
But then there are the things in life which we don’t much care for, like green beans, which we have to eat whether we like it or not.
I am talking about those things that are distasteful to our taste buds— the green beans of life we all share, such as:
The death of someone dear to you
An illness that requires hospitalization.
A loss of job that leaves you worrying about paying bills.
A marital disagreement, which leads to separation and sometimes even divorce.
And most times green beans come to you unexpectedly.
This morning, I would like to make a prediction:
Every one of you will have many helpings of green beans before your life is over.
Question: And what should our reaction be?
The Apostle Paul had eaten his share of green beans in life, and he uses some strange words to characterize the believers’ response to them:
18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Question: Give thanks in all circumstances?
That’s impossible – if you only knew what I’ve been through!!!
No, I don’t know what you’ve been through, but I do know what I have felt like when eating green beans, and sadly, my immediate attitude has not always been to thank God.
I believe the best preparation for thanking God for green beans is to begin thanking God now for pumpkin pie.
Thanking God when things are going well, when everything’s coming up roses, when there’s not a cloud in the sky, will prepare us for the thorns that come our way, for those stormy nights that are in the future.
In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 17, there’s an incident in the life of our Lord, which shows the importance of giving thanks. It is Jesus’ encounter with twelve lepers.
We pick up the story in verse 12. Jesus is traveling alone the border of Galilee and Samaria to a village when he hears pleading from afar.
12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance
These men were affected with leprosy, the most dreaded disease in the Ancient world.
The lepers were required by law to be isolated outside the community because it was thought to be highly contagious. God told Moses:
45 “The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’
46 As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.
The leper’s only fellowship was with other lepers,
Every night, these ten lepers would sit around the supper table eating green beans, while in the backs of their minds, wishing they could have just a small sliver of pumpkin pie.
12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
As Jesus and the crowds that followed were making their way into the village, these ten lepers cried out hoping to be heard.
They called out, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ Literally “Mercy us!”
They had hoped for pumpkin pie, and perhaps Jesus, the miracle worker, could free them from their leprosy.