Summary: Some of the benefits of thankfulness during trials
Why It Is Important To Thank God and Take Courage
Illustration;Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersby illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.
Our Daily Bread, February 20, 1994.
1. Why do you suppose that it is so important that we thank God and take our courage from Him? Many people constantly wrestle with feelings of discouragement because they do not consistently thank God and appropriate the encouragement they have in Christ.
Paul had more reasons than most to complain about his stresses, pressures and persecutions, but he chose to give thanks. Paul especially thanks God for the encouragement, fellowship and sympathetic support offered to him by like-minded believers in this passage. Dr. Luke writes, “The Christian brethren in Rome, having had news of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and received new courage.” (Acts 28:15)
There is something invigorating about Christian acceptance, support and encouraging visits. Paul publicly thanked God and took a special dose of encouragement from their act of love. Let us learn to consistently thank God for the encouragement, fellowship of the Spirit, consolation of love, affection and compassion we have in Christ. (Phil. 2:1,2)
Illustration:An estimated 1.5 million people are living today after bouts with breast cancer. Every time I forget to feel grateful to be among them, I hear the voice of an eight-year-old named Christina, who had cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she thought long and hard and finally said, "I don’t know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!" The kid is right.
Erma Bombeck, Redbook, October,1992
2. A thankful heart and a decision to take courage from the Lord should be a habit. The great apostle found renewed energy when he thanked God for all the good things he had in Christ.
People who are not grateful for what they have will not enjoy the things they wish they had.
Ask the Lord to help you rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” as Paul wrote. (I Thes. 5:16-18)
Illustration:Why did only one cleansed leper return to thank Jesus? The following are nine suggested reasons why the nine did not return:
One waited to see if the cure was real.
One waited to see if it would last.
One said he would see Jesus later.
One decided that he had never had leprosy.
One said he would have gotten well anyway.
One gave the glory to the priests.