give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:18-22 

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1 Thessalonians 5:18-22

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. (ESV)

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Is It Possible to “Give Thanks in All Circumstances?” (1 Th 5:18-22)

| Jan 27, 2014

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…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.—1 Thessalonians 5:18-22

Since we can’t tackle all five verses in a couple hundred words, let’s focus on verse 18 and ask this question: is it really possible to “give thanks in all circumstances”? What if our circumstances are horrible and life seems to be one discouragement, disease, disaster, and death after another?

The answer is yes. But there’s only one way. And Jesus shows us.

Eucharisteo: Thanks in the Face of Horror

The best place to see this is in the Upper Room where Jesus,

“…took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'”—Luke 22:19

The Greek word for “thanks” in this verse is eucharisteo. Ann Voskamp beautifully unpacks the meaning of this word:

The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning ‘grace.’ Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be a gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy.’ Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.1

Now, let’s think for a moment about what Jesus’ eucharisteo meant.

Thank you, Father, that my body, symbolized by this bread, is about to be brutally broken and I am about to be (momentarily) damned by your wrath (Isaiah 53:10) so that you will receive supreme glory in being able to forgive undeserving sinners (Philippians 2:11) and I will share eternally full joy (John 15:11, Psalm 16:11) with hundreds of millions of forgiven sinners made righteous through my sacrifice (Isaiah 53:11).

Jesus’ thanks was not based on his present circumstances. He was about to endure the worst possible horror. He felt thankful to the Father for the grace and glory that was coming because of the cross and this gave him joy. Eucharisteo.

Future Joy Fuels Your Thankful Endurance

Jesus’ eucharisteo was fueled by his belief in future grace. That’s what the author of Hebrews meant when he wrote that,

Jesus, …for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…—Hebrews 12:2

Jesus endured the cross by looking to the promised future joy that would result from it.

And in this he shows us the secret of giving thanks in all circumstances: look to the joy set before you. Look to the joy! If the future joy that Jesus promises is real and you believe him, there is no circumstance that can steal your thanksgiving.

Questions:

  • What are the three words packed into the Greek word eucharisteo?
  • With those three words in mind, how (in your own words) would Jesus have given eucharisteo to the Father knowing what he would endure in a few short hours?
  • What are some specific promises God has made you about your future that can fuel your eucharisteo? The Bible is a treasure mine of such promises, but God wants you to dig.
    (To get you started, here’s just a sampling of places to mine: Romans 6:23, Galatians 2:16, Philippians 4:19, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 15:52-53, 2 Corinthians 5:8, 1 John 3:2, Psalm 16:11, Romans 8:21, 1 Peter 3:18, Psalm 43:3.)
  • __________________

    1 Ann Voskamp’s quote can be found in this interview.


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