In Everything, Give Thanks

Open Your Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, Psalm 105:1-6, Micah 6:8, Colossians 3:12-16

One summer we drove from Tennessee to California in a shuttle bus. My only caveat as we planned the trip was that I could not handle it while pregnant! But two weeks into our travels, I sat down in the back of the bus as we bumped along the highway through Fargo, North Dakota, and started doing some figuring, resulting in the words, “Stop the bus!”

An eighty-eight-cent pregnancy test told us I was pregnant. So there we were, in the middle of the country—just as far from home as we were from our vacation destination—with hearts full of joy and the best secret. It wasn’t what we’d planned, but I’ve found it’s so easy to be thankful for good surprises, even when there are so many things that do not go as planned. 

I imagine you’ve experienced this too. The college you planned on going to wasn’t the one you actually attended. Your high school sweetheart ended up marrying someone else. You entered into a six-month-long interview process but didn’t land the job. You had far less time with a parent or a child than you ever could have imagined. We’ve all experienced a change of plans, a change of expectations. Still somehow, in the midst of things swerving left when we were expecting to turn right, we’re called to give thanks.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
—1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

If we are to rejoice always, that means our rejoicing cannot be dependent upon our circumstances. If we are praying constantly, that means we ought to be praying even when we feel that things are going well or like we’ve got everything under control. If we are giving thanks in everything, that means we’re thankful not just on Thanksgiving Day but also when things don’t go the way we had planned.

But how? How can we give thanks in all circumstances? How can our thankfulness be ongoing? It’s far too easy to slip into a lazy, lip-service kind of thanksgiving or to read 1 Thessalonians 5 and feel the pressure to give thanks in spite of what’s happening. But we aren’t only called to give thanks in spite of what’s happening; we’re called to give thanks because of our God—because this is His will for us in Christ Jesus.

The foundation of a life of thanksgiving is seeing God for who He is. It is keeping our eyes fixed on Christ. When He is front and center, there are always abundant reasons for thanksgiving. No circumstance or surprise, whether welcome or scary, is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

So let us give thanks to the Lord and call on His name. Let us sing to Him, praising and proclaiming His goodness. Let us honor and seek Him above all else—because, regardless of our circumstances, our God is always worthy of our gratitude (Psalm 105:1–5).

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49 thoughts on "In Everything, Give Thanks"

  1. Kelsey Smith says:

    My husband and I have really been struggling lately in our parenting and examining why we do what we do and what our motivations are. It has been very difficult but I’m reminded this morning that I have so much to be grateful for. May the Holy Spirit focus my heart on gratitude and keep before my mind all the things he has blessed me with❤️

  2. Cheryl Blow says:

    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
    ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬-‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    This selection of verses has been coming up in my devotional time all year! After a couple of times, it made me realize God wanted me to hear this Loud and clear.

    I needed to trust Him and praise Him even when I don’t understand. He has everything under control and will take care of me.

  3. Allison Bentley says:

    As a parent of 3 young boys it makes it all (cooking, cleaning, playing, laundry, decorating for holidays, celebrating special occasions, the list can literally go one forever) worth it when one of my boys says “thanks mom”. All the stress, anxiety and tiredness goes away when those two words are mentioned. Not that God has stress, anxiety and tiredness BUT I believe that Al he wants to hear are the two words of gratitude “thanks God” – thanks for being by my side every moment, thanks for providing, thanks for protecting, thanks for the hug, thanks for sunrise, thanks for the beauty of Your creation. I am not worthy BUT You Lord are faithful and for that I am grateful! Happy Friday She’s! Praying over each and every one of you today!

  4. Debby Blake says:


  5. Donna Wolcott says:

    I took like Phil Wickham’s song, Praise Everywhere ” and sing out as I’m driving (for God’s ears only). It’s a joy to be with all of you each morning. Tina, my next scone and cup of tea will be a”hi” to you. Your concerns are lifted.❤️

  6. Kris says:

    PRAYER REQUEST: I belong to a Life Group at my church. One of the ladies, Amy, has a husband that has been ill for a while and was finally diagnosed with cancer on one of his kidneys. He will have surgery to remove it, and then they will have to see where things are. Both Amy and her husband Mike are seasoned, dedicated, committed, deep Christians, full of faith. But this will be hard. I would love to tell Amy that even some of you are praying for God’s favor in this situation. Thanks a million!!

  7. Rhonda J. says:

    @Mari V- Love how you always say “my Jesus!” Reminds me of the big hit by Ann Wilson “Let Me Tell You About My Jesus!” I can hear you saying that to those you meet! It becomes so personal and a great testimony when you can say…”my Jesus…did this!”

    @Sharon..SO GOOD! Thanks for sharing. And yes, God really convicts us when we keep hearing the same thing in different places, lol. We talked about Choices in jail. Such a good lesson, that every day we have choices to make, and basically are we going to make choices that follow God or not. It is very convicting. I said something harshly, not realizing, (but I should have!) to the photographer’s assistant at my niece’s wedding last week, later hearing that she was upset and cried because of that. (I had said something like…oh there you are, when we were waiting for the family pictures outside when we were highly pressed for time and I had left the kitchen of slicing and dicing vegetables..don’t ever do the food yourself the day of a wedding if you are in the wedding party (eyeroll). So, yes, I probably said it in a exasperated way, but that is no excuse to come off that way. God is really working on me and the way I sound to others. I don’t like to sugar coat in tons of niceties, and usually speak before I think but…it’s not really what I like. It’s letting the Holy Spirit change me into how HE wants me!

    @Heidi- Hope it went well. I know I cannot speak in front of people and try to sound eloquent or even what I’m trying to say period. Public speaking is my worst nightmare. But, I know you did WONDERFUL!! Because you love His Word!

  8. Cee Gee says:

    Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks is all about relationship. God created us for relationship, but we let our worldly wants and needs take precedence over the most important relationship we will ever experience – a personal relationship with the one Who created us and cares more for us than we will ever fathom. How selfish I am most days!

    REBECCA FAIRES – Thank you for one of the most smartly written devos! “The foundation of a life of thanksgiving is seeing God for who He is. It is keeping our eyes fixed on Christ. When He is front and center, there are always abundant reasons for thanksgiving.”

    BUTTONBERRY and FOSTER MAMA – As SRT was loading this morning, the words ‘global community’ jumped off the page at me! I know that in my heart, but it reminded me that there are so very many ‘out there’ that we may never hear from, but we are still ‘in community’! What an AWEsome gift for which to BE THANKFUL! THANKS SO MUCH SRT and ALL SHES in participation! ❤

    SEARCHING – Praying along with you for that miracle! ❤

    TINA, I,too, ‘hear your voice’ (accent ☺) when I read your precious words. Hugs back to you on this rainy Southern day and a tip of my cup to you!

    HEIDI – how did it go yesterday? ❤