Home » Blog » Prayer » Bible Verses to Live By: ‘In All Things, Give Thanks’



Share this story

Bible Verses to Live By: ‘In All Things, Give Thanks’

Even when it’s tough to do so, there’s glorification in offering gratitude.

In all things give thanks

It was the Apostle Paul who wrote in his letter to the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” or as it’s put in other translations, “In all things, give thanks.”

Every time I hear or read it, I want to say, “Really, Paul? In ALL things?” How to give thanks after that scary diagnosis? Why am I supposed to give thanks when I’m scrounging around for money to pay taxes or the rent or even the food for dinner? Is it even possible to give thanks after the death of a loved one or the dissolution of a marriage?

The part of that verse that’s easy to forget is the end. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thessalonians 5:18). What on earth is Paul saying?

Is it that thankfulness—in all things—is a way to stay close to God?

On Saturday mornings, whenever possible, I like to volunteer at our church’s soup kitchen. It’s a grab-and-go meal with an added bag of food. No questions asked. We give food to whoever shows up. Last Saturday we served 350 people.

When I come home afterwards, I’m always exhausted. I want to just lie down on the couch with my legs up. All those needy souls. From near and far, including some of those Venezuelan refugees that have been in the news recently.

My favorite task is pouring them hot cups of coffee, a blessing on a cool day. “Cream?” we ask. “Sugar? Sweet’N Low?” We hand out the packets of sugar and the Sweet’N Low and point to the stirrers. Also point out the juice and water if they want them.

I love talking to the guests, going around and chatting with them as they wait patiently in line, and sometimes the line stretches around the block. “How are you today?” “Is there anything you need?” “Can we pray for you?”

In addition to the offer of prayers, there’s a table where clothes are handed out, warm jackets and sweaters for the approach of winter. Last Saturday there was a table of volunteers, offering them help for housing and other needs.

But in all of this I don’t want us to sound like smug do-gooders. Although we might feed them, they always feed my soul. Why is that?

It is their sense of gratitude, their attitudes of thanks in all circumstances. I can hear stories of struggle, continuous struggle, but in the midst of it I will hear of thankfulness. “I am blessed,” many will say. Blessed by God,

The stories they tell, the things that have happened to them dwarf any misfortunes I might have endured. And so often, so does their spirit. Perhaps it is for this very reason that Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.” “Poor in spirit” in one version, just “the poor” in another version. But the message feels the same.

It can be a lot of work to give thanks in all circumstances. “Even in this, Paul?” Yes, in this. Because that thankfulness will always bring you closer to God, and what greater blessing could there be?

Share this story

Community Newsletter

Get More Inspiration Delivered to Your Inbox

Scroll to Top