“Always for All Things”

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
—Ephesians 5:20

DAVID WROTE THAT IT “is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” (Ps. 92:1) The psalmist mentions one of the reasons for this, saying, “Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.” (Ps. 92:4,5) In America, through the official proclamation of the President, a day is set aside in November in which the people are called upon to give thanks to God for the blessings of the year. Originally it was observed particularly as a harvest thanksgiving, in which the Lord was acknowledged and praised for providing temporal food and clothing.


While the Founding Fathers of the United States attempted, through the Constitution, to safeguard the country against the evils of the union of church and state, this day of national thanksgiving to God was intended to keep before the people the fact that there is a higher power. This authority is much greater than that invested in the lawmaking agencies in the national capital. He is a great Creator and Provider to whom Paul refers as the One in whom “we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) The brethren in America today feel that one of their great causes for thanksgiving is the fact that in the Lord’s providence it is their lot to live in a country where religious freedom is allowed.


Brethren in many other countries also enjoy the liberty of worship and Divine service, and for a similar reason. In countries where atheism has predominated, brethren have been denied the right to worship and serve their God. The ascendancy of atheism in many parts of the world was one of the ‘signs of the times,’ one of the evidences of the ‘last days’ in which we are living. Even this has changed. We can be patient with atheism and other forms of pagan worship knowing that these are but a passing phase in world events which is helping to prepare the people for the time now near when all will “know the Lord” (Jer. 31:34), when every creature, in heaven and in the earth will be saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”—Rev. 5:13

One of the greatest causes of atheism is the mass of distorted conceptions of God which have come down to our day and were incorporated in the creeds during the Dark Ages. Progress toward Truth is often accompanied by a swinging of the pendulum of thought from one extreme to another. Thinking minds, freed from the fetters of bondage imposed by the church-state governments of Europe, naturally rebelled against the idea that a God of love would torment his enemies forever in a hell of fire and brimstone. Many, in reaching this conclusion, went still further and decided that there is no God at all, no higher power to which human beings owe allegiance. But how glad these will be when, through the agencies of the Messianic kingdom, the true God of the Bible is revealed to them!

It is in this fact, and in the many ‘thoughts’ of God associated with it, as revealed to us through his Word, that the Lord’s people all over the world this November, and at all times, find their greatest cause for thankfulness. Like all who recognize God as the great Provider, we are thankful for the material blessings of life, whether we have enjoyed them sparsely or in abundance. How much more thankful we are that the Lord has opened the eyes of our understanding to behold and understand the “works” of his hands—those ‘works’ which have been known to the Lord “from the beginning of the world”: his glorious Divine “plan of the ages.”—Acts 15:18; Eph. 3:11, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott

It is in these works that we triumph. Looking back over the times past of our lives, before the Lord “inclined” unto us, heard our “cry” of despair, lifted us out of the “miry clay” and set our “feet upon a rock,” we are reminded of how miserable was our lot. As the psalmist states, the Lord has “established” our “goings,” and has put “a new song” in our mouths, even the “lovingkindness” of our God. (Ps. 40:1-3; 63:3) Being drawn to the Lord, and having dedicated our lives to his service, his works have now become our works, for we are colaborers with him. Since his works cannot fail, we are triumphant in them.


Many are the assurances given in the Word that God’s purposes toward the church and the world will not, and cannot, fail. Being confident of this, the works of the Lord give us great cause for thankfulness on behalf of the whole world of mankind, for we know that in the Divine plan a wonderful provision has been made to bless humankind with lasting peace, joy, and life. We know that rivers of blood will continue to flow as selfishness causes man’s inhumanity to man to manifest itself in wars, terrorist attacks and other hideous atrocities. The Lord will cause the “river of water of life” to proceed “out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,” that ‘river’ on either side of which there are the trees of life, bearing life-giving fruit, the leaves of which are “for the healing of the nations.”—Rev. 22:1,2

In the world today, it is only a minority who enjoy anything approaching an abundant life, made comfortable and rich with material blessings. These will have cause for thankfulness that in this respect their lot has fallen in pleasant places. But how temporary is this lot! In today’s world in which seventy-five per cent of the people are living on subnormal rations—and largely because of this—there is seething unrest. The turbulent, under-privileged masses storm the bulwarks of a dying civilization, insisting that they be given their fair share of the earth’s bounties. There can be little assurance that those who have been well fed will have their happy lot continued.

The world’s cause for thanksgiving rests on a flimsy foundation, but not so our hope for mankind. The Lord in his abundant mercy has revealed his works to us, and we can say to the world that soon the Lord will “make unto all people a feast of fat things,”—not a literal feast, necessarily, but a satisfying of the legitimate desires of the human heart. (Isa. 25:6) Because we know that this is in store for mankind, we like to think of the time when there will be a worldwide thanksgiving day. The Prophet David suggests this when he says, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.” (Ps. 67:4-6) How thankful we are for the time now so near when the Lord will ‘govern the nations upon earth.’ Then they will have genuine cause for thankfulness.


It is fortunate for the human family that even under present difficult conditions so many are able to find cause for thankfulness. There is another side to human experience, however, one which the Apostle Paul refers to when he says that the whole creation “groaneth and travaileth” while waiting for the “manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:22,19) “Now are we the sons of God,” John wrote. (I John 3:1-3) If we prove faithful to the terms of our calling we will be blessed when the manifestation of the sons of God takes place and we are associated with our Lord in extending to the groaning creation the rich blessings of the kingdom.

Of Jesus it is written that for the “joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) It is essential to our victory that we also keep before us the future joys of participating with Jesus in the blessing of all the families of the earth. This is a prospect which is indeed transporting, one which is always, and at all times, a great cause for thanksgiving.

When we think of our call to joint-heirship with Jesus in those future joys of the kingdom, the works of God become of deep personal concern to us. Paul refers to these works—the Divine plan of the ages—as God’s ‘purpose,’ and speaks of our being “called according to his purpose.” This alone is an outstanding cause for thankfulness, but in addition the apostle adds that to those who love God and are thus called according to his purpose, “all things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28) Paul wrote, in our text, that we should give thanks ‘always,’ and for ‘all things.’ The assurance that all things work together for our good because we are called according to God’s purpose, is simply another way of saying that we triumph in the Lord’s works.


We should always endeavor to think of the Lord, and of our participation in his works in connection with our everyday affairs. Our relationship to him and to his purpose should be more than a beautiful and inspiring theme for which we can always be thankful. The Lord takes a personal interest in our every experience—our joys, sorrows, trials, and problems. To illustrate, Jesus spoke of the very hairs of our heads being numbered. Knowing this, we should delight, as the poet expressed it, to thank the Lord “for the sunshine and the rain,” and also “for the sorrow and the pain.”

David said that the thoughts of God toward us are very deep. The fact that he thinks of us at all is beyond comprehension. But it is true! David wrote, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”—Ps. 139:17,18

How wonderful that the great God of the universe should think of us as individuals! He has recorded his thoughts so that we may know what he thinks. We realize from what he has recorded in his Word that he knows all about us. He knows our every weakness and imperfection. “He knoweth our frame;” and remembers that we are but “dust,” yet he assures us of his love.—Ps. 103:14

God has thought of every experience that has ever, or ever will, come into our lives—every joy, vexation, emergency—and has told us in his Word what he thinks about them all. He has assured us that he will share our joys, strengthen us in trial, guide us by his wisdom, protect us from harm, and that he will give his angels charge over us to keep us in “all” our ways. (Ps. 91:11) Paul wrote confidently that ‘all things work together for good’ to those who love the Lord, and are “called according to his purpose.”—Rom. 8:28


The Lord wants us to accept these many promises and realize that they actually apply to us as individuals, and not merely to others whom he has called. David said that because of the many thoughts of God toward him, when he awoke the Lord was still with him. At the beginning of each new day, David realized that the presence of the Lord was with him even as it had been the day before. So it is with each one of the David class at the present time.

Am I as fully aware as I should be that the Lord is with me today—in the kitchen, in the workshop, in the factory, in the office? Do I realize that each joy I experience is an occasion to lift my heart to him in thanksgiving for his goodness? Do I have the assurance that in my every trial I can go to him for strength; that when I need guidance I can ask him for wisdom; that when I fail he wants me to ask his forgiveness?

Do I realize as fully as I might that the Lord is especially blessing my every effort to show forth his praises? When I distribute tracts bearing a message of the glorious Gospel of the kingdom, do I do it simply because I feel it is a duty, or is it an experience of sacred joy in the thought of having a share in helping someone else to know a little more about my Heavenly Father, and his loving plan of salvation for all mankind?

God promised his servant Moses that his “presence” would go with him. (Exod. 33:14) We can apply that same promise to ourselves. If we do, it will mean that we are enjoying the sacred companionship of our God as we colabor with him in that glorious partnership in which, as “ambassadors for Christ,” we have been given the “ministry of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:18-20) It matters not what particular part the Lord, in his wisdom, has permitted us to have in his work. The principal thing is that we have been invited to work in his vineyard, ‘called according to his purpose,’ and that being employed by him, we can be assured that all things are working together for our good. Thus, whether we labor directly or indirectly in his service, we see in every experience a cause for thanksgiving—not merely on one day of the year, but every day, or as the apostle says in our text, always.


From the standpoint of the vineyard work as a whole throughout the world, the Lord’s people have much for which to be thankful. Another year of widespread witnessing over the radio, television, and the internet has been completed, and, as a result, many have been helped to a better understanding of our Heavenly Father and of his Word, and, perhaps have been led to a full consecration to do his will. We can be thankful also for the prospect of being able, in the Lord’s providence, to continue this work.

We have great cause for thanksgiving as we look back and recall the many blessings we have enjoyed in fellowshipping with our brethren—at conventions, and in our ecclesias. May we never permit the blessed experiences of communion with the Lord’s people to become commonplace. There are many who, because isolated, or because of varying circumstances, cannot attend meetings and enjoy the privilege of fellowship with others of like precious faith. We can be thankful that the Lord makes up to these in other ways, that he is a compensating portion to them in their loneliness.

We can be thankful that as we look ahead we can do so with the assurance of “he who led us once will lead us still.” Knowing this, we will lift our hearts and voices with praise and thanksgiving for the joy which we know will be ours as we continue to walk in the Master’s steps. We are thankful for all the opportunities of service which lie ahead as we continue to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”—I Pet. 2:9

So, always, and in all things, we will give thanks unto the Lord.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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