Flex your thanks muscles
True thankfulness is more “flex” than “reflex.” Here in my new home of Antigua, reflex-thanks is what happens when I pull the laundry off the line just before a downpour. Phew! Thanks! Reflex-thanks is when the local grocery store has an overstock of expired milk and a gallon sells for $4 USD instead of $8 USD. Awesome! Thanks!
But what about the kind of thanks that Paul talks about in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”?
All circumstances? Wet laundry and costly groceries? A breaking heart? A failing heart? Well, that requires more flex than reflex. If you hold a weight and flex your arm, after a while your bicep protests. Further flexing takes a deliberate, conscious effort. Likewise, flex-thanks is a deliberate, conscious bending of the heart toward thankfulness, no matter whether it is holding a featherlight joy or a heavy sorrow or an awkward load of annoyance.
I can fight through another set of bicep curls by sheer willpower. But willpower isn’t enough to create genuine thankfulness. Flex-thanks is only possible through God in Christ Jesus. When hardship nips my heels, my Savior reminds me of my heavenly home. When my reflex is to grumble, my Savior reminds me I am forgiven. Whenever I receive God’s grace in Word and sacrament, the Spirit bends my heart toward thankfulness.
Lord, whether I face ease or hardship today, let my reflex be “thank you.”
God designed you for more than you can imagine. And he gifted you uniquely to fulfill his incredible calling! Find out what your spiritual gifts are with the tools in Gifted for More by Dr. Bruce Becker.
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