Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).
God told the Israelites (famously repeated by Jesus) that man cannot live by bread alone.
When God first said that, Israel was wandering in a desert wasteland. They were learning to trust God for his physical provision. Where would they get water? Where would they get food? How could they manage with just the clothes on their backs and the shoes on their feet? God promised that if they would trust him, he would meet their needs.
It is an important lesson for any child of God to learn. Moses tells us why: Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you (Deuteronomy 8:6-10, NIV).
For Israel, things would soon turn around – they’d soon be out of the desert and in the Promised Land. The question is: then, when life was good, would they still trust God for their physical needs…or would they forget him? Moses tells us the answer: You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today (Deuteronomy 8:17-18, NIV).
That’s just like me! When things are rough, I drop to my knees and seek God’s provision. But when they go well for me I tend to forget God. I’m not very thankful. I trust in myself.
That’s the beauty of thankfulness and why we can give thanks in all circumstances. When there is plenty, of course, we have much for which to be thankful. When we are in need, we can be thankful for God’s loving promises. Either way, thankfulness is God’s will for us.