Give Thanks in All Circumstances

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks isn’t always easy. In fact, when we face trials or opposition, it can be downright difficult. And yet, as the Apostle Paul closes his first letter to the Thessalonians, he exhorts them to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18a ESV). But surely Paul must be mistaken here. What about when people do things to hurt us? Or when we lose a job? Or when we’ve just gotten a diagnosis that doesn’t look good? Can we really give thanks in “all circumstances”? Is that realistic?

If we asked Paul whether it was realistic, he’d answer with a resounding “Yes!” In order to understand why, it’s important to know a little bit about the people to whom Paul is writing. The Church in Thessalonica was founded in the midst of persecution and problems. It wasn’t long after Paul established a fledgling congregation there that some people “formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason” where Paul was staying (see Acts 17:1-9 for the whole story). But the problems didn’t end there.

In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul writes, “For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 ESV). So Paul was persecuted. The churches in Judea were persecuted. And now, the church at Thessalonica was being persecuted. There were trials and tribul