Paul endured and suffered through a variety of perils in order to fulfill his commission as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Yet Paul’s command to the Thessalonian church applied equally to himself, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
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We are inclined to take things for granted, aren’t we? We learn to do this at an early age. As children, we looked forward to eating three meals a day (plus snacks). We expected to find proper clothing in our closets when it was time to dress for the day. We never doubted that someone would nurse us back to health when we became ill. But why did we anticipate these benefits in our daily lives? Because that was the way it was (for many of us—“thanks to mom and dad!”).
Taking things for granted is not a real danger to us until our expectations overrun our gratitude. When we grow so accustomed to having things a certain way that we forget to thank the people who made it possible, then we have a spiritual problem. Christians are taught to be a thankful people (cf. Col 3:15). This implies that we should be on the lookout for things to be thankful for—and to express our thankfulness, verbally (with words).