By Ella Attelus (Church Secretary and Youth Leader at Miami Haitian Church of the Brethren(FL))
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 “…give thanks in all circumstances…”
“Wow, Is the virus really that serious? Do we really have to shut down?”
“We have to stay home for 30 more days! No youth group, No graduation, virtual school, no senior activities.”
“Is the mall really closed? I am so upset!”
“How many people in my community tested positive? How many people is out of work?
“This is getting scary! This cannot be life, God we need you!”
Who else’s mind is going a thousand miles a minute? Mine sure was. The world is at a stand still and no one knows what to do. No one knows what decisions to make. No one knows what is next. All that is going on around us makes it so easy for all the faith we have, to vanish. It makes it easy for our hearts to be troubled and gratitude now being out of our hearts. For some of us its easy to pray for some of us it is hard to pray. As believers in Christ sometimes we need a reminder of what God’s word says and what God’s will is.
In 1 Thessalonians the Thessalonians struggled with many afflictions, but they also had faith. Timothy, on behalf of them, expressed to Paul how grateful and thankful they were for him and still had faith amid what was going around them (1 Thessalonians 3:4-10). Paul also expressed his gratitude to the people and at the same time giving them comfort and reminding them of the coming of Christ. Reminding them who they are in Christ, “…children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” He also tells them to encourage one another, “build each other up….to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5,11 &12). In his final Instruction to the Thessalonians Paul gives them comfort by telling them to rejoice always, stay in prayer and “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)
The scripture parallels to what we are going through right now. Paul reminds me of our pastors, deacons, ministers, youth leaders, etc. who are always trying to find new ways to keep us connected spiritually. They are constantly calling us, sending texts, praying with us making sure our spirits are quenched. Just like Paul reminded the Thessalonians to encourage one another we must also do the same for the leaders who are in the position to seek the discernment of God on our behalf. Paul also reminds us to acknowledge those who work hard among us, the essential workers. Those in the Front lines, the scientist, nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, police officers, fast food workers, etc.
Good news: We must thank God that these people are here making sure we have all the essential things that we need. We must stay focused, not lose faith, praise God, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us.
Go one step further:
Prayer Activity: Daily Thanksgiving
Materials: Small Basket or Bowl, Paper, pencil/pen
-Think about all the people you want to thank God for. The essential works, your pastor, a church leader, family member, etc.
-Take a few sheets of paper cut it in big or small pieces (depends on the amount of people)
-Write a name on each paper, fold each paper into a few folds, place them in a bowl or basket
-Shake the bowl/basket Place bowl/basket on nightstand or near door
-Every night or every morning as you pray and in worship with God. Pick 1 name out of the bunch and pray for them, thank God for them.