The Habit of Thankfulness
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

We hear a great deal of the power of habit. I know there is power in good habits. Is there any in evil habits? Are good habits the greatest blessing in our life? One half of the best work performed by us is done largely through sheer force of habit. When a person is learning to play the piano, he or she goes over the keys awkwardly, and with difficulty, but soon becomes a good player through the force of habit. A man doing something that he is accustomed to will stand well the cares and anxieties which daily burden his mind. But put him at something which he knows nothing about, and they would kill him. Good habits enable one to resist temptation. The only way to conquer evil habits is to put good ones in their place. How often men discard their evil habits, but put nothing in place of them! The bad habits soon return like the unclean spirits of the parable. I wish to speak of the habit of thankfulness.

I. THE VALUE OF SUCH HABIT. It helps us to quell the repining over the ills of life. There is an old story of a young man who was walking along a road, full of life, but very poor, when, observing a carriage driven by containing an old man, he began to repine, saying; "Oh, what a life I lead! Just look at the genuine, quiet comfort enjoyed by that old man; Oh, that I were in his place!" The old man looked out of the window at the same time and sighed: "Oh, that I had the youth and strength of that man with all his splendid possibilities, I would give everything that I possess." Now the habit of thankfulness secures us against all this. A child will give thanks to anyone who may make her a present of any kind, and shall we not return thanks to God for what He has given us? Some of us may have sore troubles; but when you remember the Lord's goodness and His consolations, you are able to bear them. Paul and Silas sang praises in prison. That's the way to do. Sing praises under all the ills of life. The Christian idea is to charge upon these ills.

II. THE HABIT OF THANKFULNESS LEADS TO DEEPER PENITENCE. Repentance is the soundest, truest, and most acceptable thing in the eyes of God. All true penitence takes account of God's goodness, and incites cheerfulness and thankfulness to God.

III. WE OUGHT TO BE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING PAINFUL AS WELL AS PLEASANT. "In all things." We can always be thankful that a thing is not worse. If it were worse it would be no more so than our sins make us deserve. When trouble comes over us, we learn to appreciate that as a blessing which is gone. A man does not know the blessing of good health until he loses it.

(J. A. Broadus, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

WEB: In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.

The Faculty of Thankfulness
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