“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NLT)
I sometimes think that being in the “Information Age” has done us a great disservice. So much nonsense comes at us at lightning speed (thanks to cell phones and the inter-webs) that before we can even begin to process the first controversial subject, folks are already serving up the second and then wanna ask you if you would like to take the “correct” position on the topic. With ladles-full of unnecessary crosstalk, folks are constantly debating on whether we are all heading into the right direction, if that direction measures up with each other’s individual personal opinion, and then we splash our discontentment on each other like spaghetti sauce. We’re doing it so much these days that one has to wonder if we’re taking the time to breathe in between each new subject and cleaning up the mess. Anyway…
With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I was wondering if we could let all that bothers us right now take a backseat and allow the King of kings and the Lord of lords to take His rightful place at our tables? Ya know something, I can hear Him now, as He pulls out a chair, looks upon the deep-fried turkey, bacon stuffing, bowl of mushroom gravy, roasted brussels sprouts with garlic butter, cranberry sauce, basket of freshly baked rolls and asks, “Could you please pass the Thanksgiving?” then gazes at everyone sitting around the table (I think I better put a “Selah” here).
Yeah Jesus showing up at our Thanksgiving table would really freak some of us out wouldn’t it? But why should it? If we are living a life that honors The Cross of Christ our thanksgiving would be at every table we sit at and it would show up in everything we do. Let’s take a look at my headlining passage of Scripture today.
The instruction is simple, “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” Secularland is in the business of trying to sell its brand of do the right thing, and there is so many ways to choose from that you could choose unwisely, but for the children of El Elyon it should be one way and it should be a reflex. You see a need, meet it. You see someone mourning, comfort. A heart that is thankful to what The Most High has saved us from automatically gears itself to passing that along. Then we will “Always be joyful” and “NEVER STOP PRAYING!!” Don’t fool yourself into believing that El Elyon does not hear us. If you live as a child of the Most High, your prayers DO NOT stop at the ceiling and linger there. That is a lie the crowned prince of Secularland wants us to believe.
And of course, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I really don’t think Paul would have mentioned this if he himself didn’t grasp the idea of contentment. Check this little diddy he wrote to the Church in Philippi, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13)
It has been said that “contentment is the hidden jewel of Christianity” but I don’t think we understand that as much as we should. We look to at too many externals within what surrounds us and look for the joy we should be looking for in a life that honors Jesus Christ. Tozer (my favorite go to guy) wrote, “Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” Makes me wanna ask myself in what ways have I lived out this principle? Do I really give that hidden jewel of being in Christ away or have I really found it myself? Hmmm….
Many Thanksgiving tables will be filled with people who will be thankful with the abundance of blessings they possess, but keep in mind there will be those that are just thankful for what they already had and will be content enough to still say, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21) Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “Lord if You bless me, I’ll be thankful; but if You don’t, I’ll be thankful for what I have.” — Phil Robertson
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7