“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 ESV)
The apostle Paul was definitely feeling some “thanksgiving” vibes for the church at Thessalonica. Paul here writes to the Thessalonian believers how Timothy told the apostle about, “the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you” (1 Thessalonians 3:6b ESV).
Paul goes on to say that in whatever distress or affliction he and his companions experienced, “For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3:8 ESV). That’s what did it for Paul: he rejoiced over these believers who were transformed by the immovable truth of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2b ESV). This is truth only God can anchor in a person’s heart. For all the competing narratives and clever arguments we may encounter, the world’s wisdom is DOA in the face of the Holy Spirit’s life-changing work through the power of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:3-5).
We see what Paul was thankful for and how his ultimate thanks were always tied to God. On this Thanksgiving Eve, what are some of the things you’re thankful for—family, home, a sense of wellbeing for the days ahead? These are blessings to be sure. But, perhaps, people, health, and hearth aren’t happening for you right now. And maybe looking for a silver lining in the middle of half a dozen problems you can’t fix doesn’t leave you feeling very thankful at all.
In this case, you’re not alone. This is the day-to-day struggle for countless millions who deal with problems they feel powerless to manage. In this, the apostle Paul has another valuable lesson for us, and it’s tied to faith—faith in a God who can meet any and every need we have regardless of what’s going on, or our power to fix it. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:19-20).
This is faith that sees God’s grace in all life’s situations—no matter what we’re facing. It’s knowing that God is with us whether our plate is full or not. He sees our lack. He understands our cries for help. It was for this reason Jesus came into this world. For Him we are always thankful—for His care, His life, His death, and His resurrection.
In Jesus, God has met all our needs—now and through eternity.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let our hearts be thankful in You—for calling us, receiving us, and saving us through Your Son Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Who is the last person you can think of that you really wanted to see?
2. Is being thankful to God a habit in your life or something that occurs to you on different occasions that prompt it?
3. If you’re alone this Thanksgiving, how do you thank God for His blessings?