Mary [my wife] has written a post on our 2partners blog [you can link to it from this blog by clicking on Vital Truth Ministries and then 2partners] where she mentions how much a passage of scripture [1 Corinthians 3:21-23] has come to mean to me personally.
In context, [1 Corinthians 3:21-23] Paul is dealing with a problem in the Corinthian church where some believers were divided over who had had the best ministry among them as pastor. [Paul, Peter, and Apollos had all been there at one time or another.] Paul showed the foolishness of that kind of quarrel since, whatever one does in ministry, only God gives any increase. [1 Corinthians 3:6] The Apostle also reminds the congregation that it's going to take the Bema [1 Corinth. 4:5] to reveal the heart of the issue anyway. So much for our knowing who is the best in any thing, preaching, pastoring, convictions, holiness or whatever else it might be about which we make personal judgements.
Another point Paul made in the 3rd chapter, among other things, is that each man had been a gift from God to them in a unique way. [3:21] When Paul says that, it is as if he gets caught up in a moment of inspiration and goes on to say EVERYTHING is a gift from God. Look at his list of things that are gifts. Paul, Peter, Apollos,[anyone who has been or now is your pastor] life, [whatever circumstances constitute life for you] death, [when it takes place] the world, [not the evil system but the natural realm of life not just spiritual things] things present, [whatever is happening at the moment, good or bad] things to come, [whatever will happen next, good or bad] Am I correct in assuming there is nothing left out? All are gifts from God to the Corinthians and to us.
What this means is I can "give thanks for all things for this is the will of God for you." That thanksgiving is NOT because of the pleasure or pain, comfort or discomfort, mystery or knowledge of "why" things happen, or even the natural or spiritual nature of things. But my thanks is because of the Love, Grace, and character of the Giver of everything that comes to me.. He is the one who is the "blessed controller of every event." All of life is a gift. All things are mine to enjoy, experience, whether they are comfortable or not. I can learn, be stretched, can even grow because of all things whether good or bad.
My word, maybe this is that contentment that doesn't have to be propped up by circumstances happening the way I want them to happen. Maybe this is that joy that cannot be destroyed by difficulty. Maybe this gives me a little insight to the incredible peace Jesus had "in spite" of "things" and that peace is now mine since He is my life.
Maybe I do have reason to be thankful this season. Maybe every day of my life there is reason for thanksgiving. So...HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU. [From all the Burlesons]