Summary: Sometimes it does not make sense to be thankful. But it is always the will of God. If we can thank God in the hard times, and keep a right attitude, He will reward us with blessings that we never expected.
Mark 6:34-44----Central Text
Hard times---the disciples treasury only had 200 pennies (possibly the value of $32 in today's economy) and only one boy out of 20,000 people had any food on their person.
It would have been a miracle to have bought food for 20,000 people for that price, but Jesus decided to do a greater miracle by finding someone who would give what little they had, and give it up with a thankful heart.
In John 6:9, it states that the loaves of bread were of barley. Barley is considered the lowest quality of the grains for making bread. Nonetheless it was bread.
** Be thankful for the simple things that God has provided, don't take them for granted.
IL.: Ed was from Louisiana, and made a decent living with his sugar plantations and salt works. Then the Civil War broke out. The Yankees invaded the area in 1863, and Ed had to run for his life. He had to leave his house and business; but he still had his family.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Trials come to all of us; usually when we least expect them.
Sometimes all we can do is tie a knot in the end of the rope and hold on for all we got.
Even in those times, let us be thankful for the small and simple things.
6 ¶ Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
The Civil War finally came to an end, and Ed and his family returned home. He found his buildings and equipment destroyed; his sugar cane fields had been burned by the Yankees, and the salt works were in ruins. Other southerners in similiar situations just completely gave up. What would Ed and his family do?
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Sometimes it the chastening of the Lord and sometimes it is just the trials of life.
The little boy who gave up his lunch to Jesus and the disciples probably thought that he had just lost out; that there would be no meal for him until he got back home. Maybe even then, he might get a lashing. After all, he probably had given up the basket that would not be returned and mom would be evermore upset.
Instead of running home prematurely, he stayed around to see if something good would come out of this.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
God can use our negative situations to produce very positive results.
--John Bunyan wrote "Pilgrims Progress" from a jail cell.
--Paul wrote a number of the epistles from a prison.
--John wrote "Revelation" while banished to the isle of Patmos.
--Beethoven composed some great musical pieces while deaf and depressed.
Ed and his family had also been robbed of their livestock and food. About the only thing in the garden that was surviving were carrots and some pepper plants. The family was barely making it from hand to mouth.
Ed was determined to survive and get back on his feet. They were getting very tired of carrots.
Ed was a patient man and he went to work on producing something tastier from his pepper plants. He created a sauce, using salt and vinegar and letting it age in crockery jars for 30 days. He experimented until he perfected his recipe.
In 1868, he bottled 350 units of his new hot sauce and shipped it off to see if it would sell. Amazingly, it was a success, and orders started coming in from all over. He decided to name it "Tabasco". The rest is history. Today, 145 years later, the Edmund McIlheny family still have the family business on Avery Island, LA.
The young lad patiently waited, and he saw a miracle before his eyes. His little lunch had been transformed into a feast for all. Now as cleanup was taking place, he was presented with an abundance of fish and bread and 12 baskets to give mom and dad a bigger business venture.
**Be thankful for the abundance that God has given.
It may not be what you had in mind or were planning, but the Lord blesses as He sees fit. And He does all things exceedingly well.