|5:17||Pray without ceasing.|
|5:18||In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.|
“Let’s give thanks in all circumstances.”
The Bible repeatedly says to give thanks. David was wholeheartedly thankful for all of his life. And even in today’s passage, it contains a reference for being completely thankful. We must be thankful for everything. Today we are having Thanksgiving Sunday to give praise and to honor God. The primal appearance of Thanksgiving Day is found in the Old Testament, where the people of Israel celebrated the harvest of the preceding year, according to God’s commandment. In Deuteronomy 16, the Israelis settled down in Canaan and when they were harvesting crops, they farmed after exodus, and God told them to keep the three important feasts with a thankful heart. The three feasts are the Passover, the Feasts of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. The Feast of Booths is the Thanksgiving Day we keep during the fall. We store the grains we harvested this year, and come to worship God with thanksgiving offering. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may all Yewon believers be unaffected in giving thanks and in also building a likewise community.
1. Thanksgiving Inside Christ
There are three important messages in today’s passage: to always rejoice, to pray continuously, and to give thanks in all circumstances. There also is something that cannot be neglected in practicing theses; it is that it must be “in Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ is the root to always rejoice, to pray continuously, and to give thanks in all circumstances. God commanded the Israelites to celebrate three feasts and the first feast was the Passover. In the Old Testament, the blood of the lamb of the Passover is an antitype of the blood in the Gospel and the cross of Jesus is the event which actualized the antitype. It means all of life problems are solved through the blood of Jesus Christ, the lamb of the Passover. The Passover is the first holy feast to celebrate. So our thanksgiving also starts from the Passover. What I mean is that giving thanks for the salvation through the redemption of the cross of Jesus Christ should be the start point of all thanksgiving. I bless you in the name of the Lord that all of Yewon believers always taste this amazing mystery from the Word of God which is proclaimed through pulpit message and have the biblical thanksgiving nature.
2. The Nature of Absolute Thanksgiving
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 can be easily memorized and we memorize it. However it is not simple to answer the question of, “Can you really apply these verses in your real life?” Because it has the words, ‘always’, ‘without ceasing’, and ‘in all circumstances.’ It has the meaning of absoluteness, such as regardless of the circumstances and in whatever situations. Then how can we live like that? The core secret is in the word, “pray without ceasing.” John 16:24 says that prayer is the method to get amazing joy from Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul emphasizes it in Colossians 4:2 and Philippians 4:6-7. David also confesses in Psalms 16:11. When we communicate with God, we can taste the fullness of joy and the eternal pleasures. On Thanksgiving Day, I bless you in the name of the Lord that may you have the evidence that you have thanksgiving nature through incessant communication with God under any circumstances.
[Conclusion] There is a story in Talmud. A woman who loved God discovered some jewels in a well when she was drawing water from it. Just at that time, her friend who was exhausted by poverty had visited the woman’s home and heard that she had experienced the true joy of life, thanks to God and discovered some jewels. At that moment when she was talking about the jewels, the poor friend explained that she had gone through some trouble and asked her whether she could take them. Surprisingly, the woman agreed to do that. The friend was so happy, but suddenly realized something strange when she was leaving the house with her jewels; the jewels made her feel uncomfortable and not happy. So, the friend headed back to the house and gave them back to her, saying, “What I need is not these jewels, but your warm heart that was giving them to me.” And then, the woman told her friends God’s Word. Nehemiah 8:10 reads, ‘the joy of the LORD is your strength”. I hope all Yewon believers to have a life with joy for God, not for the introductory things. And I hope you to be satisfied with only God and to restore the absolute thanksgiving and the happiness of salvation. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may all Yewon believers always rejoice, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances according to God’s will and make the fragrance of Christ flow in your fields.