Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Rick was an average guy who represented millions of men his age, weight, height and measure of baldness (he preferred thinning hair). Rick had been a Christian for twelve years or so (twenty if you counted his first conversion in grade school) but Christ was barely evident in his busy, materialistic life.
Safely chugging along in a well-paying job, Rick and his family had most of the materialistic tokens of success which seemed to bend their focus away from Christ, toward things. It was a subtle move, item by item, pleasure by pleasure until Christ became just one more “thing” they did together…most of the time.
Until one day, as they sat around the dinner table on a Sunday afternoon at the beach in the rented vacation house, their conversation turned to satisfaction, or the lack of same in their lives. In the midst of their annual vacation, the family noticed something wrong with Rick the Dad and Husband. While in the midst of deciding whether to go deep sea diving or para-sailing, Rick seemed to snap!
“Is this it? Is this what our life has become?” he said soberly. “Is our life just one pleasure after another? How much money will make us happy? I earn nearly $100,000 a year now and we spend almost every dollar on our desires. We own four cars, a utility truck, take two expensive vacations each year, own another beach house down south, dress better than many of our friends, have the latest cell phones and other electronic devices and the whitest teeth in our neighborhood.”
“Dad, what’s wrong with that?” his daughter asked. “Isn’t that just normal life? Most of our friends do the same. Even the pastor does all those things and his family seems happy.”
“How often do we pray? How often do we volunteer at the foodbank or take a missions trip?” he asked them. “Don’t look stunned, I already know the answers. Not nearly enough. We let our abundant salary take care of those pesky obligations for us. I just write a check to sooth my sense of duty to the church…to The Lord. Which reminds me, how often do we all pray together anymore, or read our Bibles together? That’s ok, you don’t have to answer because I know the answer is not very often unless we are in some sort of desperate situation then we toss out a few “Oh Lord please help me!”
They spent several hours crying and praying that afternoon and, afterwards, decided to pay a visit to the local foodbank where they agreed to volunteer each day during their vacation. It was the beginning of change for their family, inviting Jesus back into their daily lives as they learned to do without some material items and place greater emphasis on spreading the Gospel.
1 Thess. 5:14-24 We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil.
May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
Col. 2:6-7 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Eph. 5:18-21 Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead, be filled with the Spirit in the following ways: speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ.
2 Cor. 9:10-12 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.