I Thess. 5:16-18 NKJV
Romans 8:28 NKJV
BE Grateful Series
The Apostle Paul, Silvanus (also called Silas), and Timothy worked as a team together to write to the church at Thessalonica (also spelled Thessaloniki) in Greece. Paul often worked with others when sending letters to the churches, but he didn’t always mention all their names. In this case, the people in that church knew Silas and Timothy well, so mentioning them was appropriate.
Silas had been at that church when he traveled with Paul on his 2nd Missionary journey. Mentioning Timothy would have been appropriate because Timothy’s father was Greek. That would have given the members of the church a sense of being connected with Timothy.
Even today, when we introduce a friend to others and we know they share common elements, we have a tendency to mention those commenting points. Having known Timothy was half Greek would have made them feel like he was one of them.
Near the end of the letter, they wrote in I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I believe this portion of scripture is one of the most difficult to fulfill on a daily basic. While I do try to rely on God and connect to God’s joy, the daily trials and struggles from the world often make rejoicing about everything problematic. Take today for example…it’s morning and I’ve already prayed 5 times that I will remember God’s joy and I will rejoice in it. Without listing the problems I’ve already encountered, I’ll say that not all problems we encounter are easy.
At least they’re not for me.
Today, I had an encounter with a mouse I found in my car. That may seem like a tiny issue but I really hate mice. They creep me out. I found evidence of the mouse yesterday.
I cleaned up the mess.
I set the trap.
I actually prayed that the mouse would not return because I knew if it returned I would be creeped out because the end for the mouse would not be favorable.
When I opened the trunk today I was hoping the trap would be empty. It was not.
After the mouse was removed, I cleaned up the mess yet again.
I prayed that was the only mouse and I set another trap. (I realize some of you would remove the mouse from the trap and reuse it but I do not do that. I now use glue traps and regardless of how big the trap is, I throw away the whole trap,)
I remembered I was going to write about rejoicing always. So, I sat for a while meditating on how I can rejoice about the mouse.
I wonder if I have to feel like I’m glad that God made mice? Or can I simply rejoice that the trap worked? I decided that’s about all I can handle today, so I rejoice that the mouse has been removed from my car.
I remember that I probably need to take steps to put traps under the hood so the mice don’t do damage to my engine so I pray that the mouse will not make way to the engine. That’s probably unrealistic because more than likely that’s how it got ‘in’. At that point I pray the mouse will not chew on any engine parts.
That’s my issue today with the first section of today’s scripture.
I move on to the second sentence. “Pray without ceasing”.
Oh Good. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing. Most of my prayers have been focused on getting the mice out of my car, but I have been praying. I have also been praying that God will help me and speak to me about this verse…
The next phrase says, “in everything give thanks.”
Now I am confronted with a similar issue. Would God have me give thanks for mice? They are part of the ecosystem. They do have a role. They have a purpose. Okay. So, thank you God for mice. At this point I think about Romans 8:28, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
I have seen God do that time and time again in my life. I know that God can and does make all things work together for good” and I do “love God”. I do believe I am “called according to HIs purpose.” I believe that every believer is called to God’s purpose for them.
Okay, SO, I ask God to bring good out of this whole ordeal with the mouse (or mice) living in my car.
I don’t know how God will do that, but I believe something good will come from it.
The last part of I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
God wants me (us) to rejoice (even about creepy things), pray without ceasing (even when it’s about something that’s kind of silly to someone else), give thanks for everything (remember Romans 8:28 where God can bring good out of this), and God wants me (us) to KNOW that we really are called according to His purposes.
God chose me. God chooses you.
In addition to that, God sticks with us even when we sweat the small stuff.
Even when it’s a mouse in our car.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Rejoice and Give Thanks Today
Even in the small stuff, spend time rejoicing and give thanks.
In God, Deborah