“Be thankful.” Wow! That’s a bold Biblical command. That it’s a command stresses how important it is to live this way. It’s not a natural response to life’s happenings. But there it is, glaringly added at the end of a Scripture verse, Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Being thankful is a choice. Thankfulness sometimes wells up in us: when the police stopped you but didn’t give you a ticket; or your blood panel came back normal, or you passed your test. Or your car repair cost less than expected.
The choice to be thankful is needed most when things aren’t going well. Your roof or basement is leaking. You broke your wrist. No response to your job application or budget cuts cost you your job. You received a scary medical diagnosis, or a loved one dies. These not-so-good life happenings behoove us to choose to be thankful.
To pursue thankfulness in such circumstances is to recognize that the Bible doesn’t call us to be thankful for hard things but in those things. Maybe it could be worse. Your scary medical diagnosis has treatment options. A hope-filled reason to be thankful is that God is with you in your experiences. Always. Worrisome times can be a unique juncture to dare to believe that God is with you, even if you are choosing to believe that for the first time.
Wuest’s Word Studies In The Greek New Testament sheds further light on Colossians 3:15 with this rendering: “The peace of Christ, let it be acting as umpire in your hearts, into which also you were called in one body. And be constantly thankful ones.” The Greek verb (translated as thankful) is a continuous action present tense (unlike an English present tense) which Wuest rightly captures to be constantly thankful. I. E., make it a way of life.
The Israelite’s Exodus to the Promised Land took 40 years though they were within eleven days from the Promised Land when the journey began. Among the numerous sins that complicated their journey was their often-mentioned constant grumbling. Put simply, grumbling slows you down.