The Principle of Giving Thanks: 4 Examples of Jesus Offering Thanks

Close-up of grateful family saying grace during Thanksgiving meal at dining table.

Two vital truths emerge from one verse of Scripture in Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians. One has to do with God’s will for you, and the other has to do with your response to that will. I Thessalonians 5:18 reads, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Giving thanks appropriately follows rejoicing and prayer. We can rejoice and pray without giving thanks, but we will not be in the will of God. It seems incredible that one can receive blessings and answers to prayer and not be thankful. Thanksgiving exalts rejoicing and enhances prayer. Our probing of the verse begins with the word give. Cheerful giving is the key to happiness and peace and good health for body, soul, and spirit. It is a natural act of love and life, especially for Spirit-filled believers. Giving is the demonstration of the abiding divine nature of God flowing though you in the likeness of Christ’s example (II Peter 1:4). It is reverence for the will of God for your life.

Next is “thanks in every thing.” It is natural, easy, and right to give thanks for good things. But God’s will is that we give thanks in everything. We must understand that God’s will is not that we experience evil, but that He is always with us during the bad times as well as the good. And He has the power to turn the evil into good. Joseph said to his brothers, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good” (Genesis 50:20).

Consider that giving thanks is eternal. Heaven will contain no tears, sorrow, or death, but it will retain the giving of thanks. Click To Tweet

Give Thanks in Everything

This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. God’s will for thanks to be given in everything is accomplished in Christ Jesus. The will of God is for us to be in Christ in all things. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

Thessalonica was not an easy place to preach the gospel. A close examination of I Thessalonians reveals much suffering connected with the gospel for Thessalonica. The word came to them with much affliction in their conversion from idols (I Thessalonians 1:6–8). Paul said it took much boldness to speak to them because of the suffering and shameful treatment (I Thessalonians 2:1–2). They also suffered from their countrymen even as the early disciples did of the Jews (2:14). He spoke of afflictions and tribulation (3:3–4). It was the will of God for them that the gospel be preached, even if it was accompanied through suffering. (See I Peter 3:15–17.)

The price of our salvation came with much suffering, chief of which was the rejection of Jesus by His own people and the suffering of the Cross. Jesus’ prayer was, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus Gave Thanks on Four Recorded Occasions

  1. The breaking of bread (John 6:11)
  2. The revelation of the things of God to the poor (Matthew 11:25)
  3. That His prayers be heard
  4. During the Last Supper communion

Jesus’ scope of giving thanks began with the simple reference to food—daily bread. He concluded with the supreme sacrifice of death for a cause, the redemption of humanity. In everything, Jesus gave thanks.

Consider that giving thanks is eternal. Heaven will contain no tears, sorrow, or death, but it will retain the giving of thanks. In John’s vision of Revelation 4:9–10, the church is giving glory, honor, and thanks unto the Lord. What the will of God is for us on earth will be a continuing practice in Heaven: in everything give thanks!

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