These past couple of weeks I have been thinking about that word, about what it means and about what it would look like to possess a heart of thanksgiving that is not dependent upon the things that are going well in your life -- or the things that are going bad. I love what the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Philippi. He wrote to them from prison and said:
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things dthrough him who strengthens me.
I want to be content in all circumstances -- don't you? Wouldn't that be the secret of thanksgiving -- in all circumstances. And Paul had what we'd call street cred. I mean what is the worst thing that has happened to you? Paul lived with a physical disability, was shipwrecked not once, but 3 times -- floating in the open ocean for who knows how long, beaten with whips embedded with bone, glass and rock on multiple occasions, and thrown into jail. And he was content. How? Because he did not depend on the many good things and good times in his life for his sense of contentment, and he didn't let the many bad things in his life rob his contentment.
Instead, Jesus was his contentment.
Jesus as your contentment. That is the secret of thanksgiving -- in all circumstances.