In reading First Thessalonians recently, 5:18 leaped off the page into my spirit, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” In doing a word study on the verse, the word translated “thanks” comes from the Greek word εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō). The word comes from two Greek words, eú, “good” and charis, “grace.” It is thanksgiving based on and in the “good” grace of Christ.
The word translated “thanksgiving” is used some forty times in the NT in various forms. The word is translated throughout the NT as “to be grateful, feel thankful, to give thanks, to consecrate a thing by giving thanks, to ‘bless,’ the giving of thanks at the beginning of a feast or in general before eating, to be grateful, to express gratitude towards God, to give praise for the wonderful works of God in Christ.” At the last supper before administering the bread and wine, Jesus gave thanks (eucharisteō) (Luke 22:19). It is where the word Eucharist is derived, being a transliteration of the Greek word eucharistia, which is another name for Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. It means thanksgiving, giving thanks for the Sacrifice of Christ for the sins of humanity. When we celebrate Communion, we are expressing thanks to Christ for His sacrifice for our sins.
Our thanksgiving is rooted in the “good” grace found in the sacrificial work of Christ on our behalf. Christ’s grace being the foundation of our thanksgiving, not changing circumstance. The Christian’s thanksgiving is not dependent upon material blessings which can be lost, but our thanksgiving is based upon the finished work of Christ from whom all the riches of our spiritual blessings flow (Ephesians 1) Paul declares the Christian can be thankful in “everything” because no matter what happens the sacrificial work of Christ on our behalf is unchanging.
In I Thessalonians 5:18, the word “thanks” is in the present tense, active voice, which means thanksgiving is to be the active habit of our lives. It is also in the imperative mood which expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding, in this case Paul is commanding the Christian to give thanks in “all things.” Thus, thanksgiving should be a characteristic of the Christian life. We should be a vessel overflowing with thanksgiving. In the crazy, mixed-up day we live in where change occurs by the minute, let us anchor our thanksgiving in the forever settled work of Christ.
O, we have so much for which to be thankful. It is in thanksgiving we sense His refreshing, abiding presence and enjoy unbroken communion with Him. Thanksgiving is the beauty of the rose in a world of thorns, praise to our Lord being the fragrance filling the air with the scent of His presence. Because of what Christ did for us on Calvary, Paul wrote, “We are bound to thank God always….” (2 Thess. 1:3). Yes, thanks be to God for is unspeakable Gift (2 Cor. 9:15).
Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday the fourth Thursday of every November – it is to be the daily attitude of our lives….vessels overflowing with thanksgiving.