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Give Thanks


Wow! What a few months we’ve had in our country huh? It seems like every election cycle is lasting longer and longer.  Everywhere we’ve turned for the last yeast has seemed to have something to do with politics and the election.

We finally got to Election Day and maybe you were thankful with the way the elections turned out. Or maybe you’re like a number of people across the country who are not thankful with the way that election process turned out. 

Maybe you’re just thankful that the election season is over and you don’t have to see anymore election advertisements on TV or get any random phone calls asking for your opinion or giving you a recording of who you should vote for.

But this is not a political article.  We’ve had enough politics for a few lifetimes and now if you follow the news or social media it is still a steady stream of analysis and explanation.  So I’m not here today to write about politics. 

I use politics as an example, however, of how it is difficult sometimes to be thankful. 

Now, difficulty saying thanks may seem like a strange topic as we head towards  a day – Thanksgiving-- specifically set aside for the sole purpose of giving thanks.  If there was one day out of the entire year that we shouldn’t have difficulty saying thanks it should be this day. 

We know it’s coming. It’s not like it sneaks up on us. A lot of preparation goes into Thanksgiving – whether it is traveling or preparing the meal.  We don’t just randomly wake up and realize, “Oh it’s Thanksgiving Day, isn’t it, guess I should find something to be thankful for.”

But yet sometimes we have a difficult time being thankful.  In 1 Timothy 2 Paul gives us instructions that are kind of difficult. He says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people”  All people, really? This might be our first response in our minds when we hear him say this.  How could we possibly be thankful for all people?  We don’t have any trouble being thankful for those who are closest to us who we like. 

The people who are kind to us, but this makes it sound like we’re supposed to give thanks for all people.  This might lead us to wonder if Paul had in mind that jerk who we work with who doesn’t do his job. Paul couldn’t have been talking about that nosey neighbor who just has to know everything that is going on your life and is spreading rumors. Paul wouldn’t be talking about the bullies that you face at school who seem to tease you endlessly and only stop when they’re picking on someone else instead.

But then Paul continues.  He tells us specifically in verse 2 that we are also to include “kings and all who are in high positions” and this is where we get back to my introduction.  We may not always be thankful for the leaders that we have in authority over us.  We might not appreciate the position they take or the way they govern. 

It just seems so easy to find reasons not to be thankful.  To grumble and complain over what we don’t have or what isn’t going right instead of seeing what we do have. 

However, we can be thankful that God has called us into his family, that he has forgiven all of our sins, that he has given us hope for today, and life for eternity. No matter how much or how little we have throughout our lives we can be thankful because we have all that matters.

Which takes us back to the beginning when we were talking about being thankful for all people including our governmental leaders.  I left out a part.  It’s a part that can only come through faith in Jesus and all that he has done for us. Paul begins by urging that we offer “supplications, prayers, and intercessions”  be made for all people. 

You see, it’s by being adopted into God’s family and given all the gifts that our Father is so willing to give us that we can offer our supplications, prayers and intercessions for others.  We can pray for our co-worker who bothers us, we can pray for our nosey neighbors, we can pray for the bullies in our lives, and we can even pray for our governmental leaders no matter whether or not they’re from our party or if we agree with them.

We pray because we have been loved, forgiven, and made new.  We love others for the same reasons.  Jesus said, love your enemies. 

We’re able to love with a crazy love because we’ve been loved with a crazy love.  A love that was willing to love us when we were most unlovable.  You can be thankful….even when life is difficult because, through faith in Jesus Christ, you have the greatest gifts ever given: forgiveness, hope, and life. No one can take these away.  Thank God for that!

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