What – Give thanks
Thanksgiving or giving thanks is an act of gratitude, an acknowledgment or celebration of goodness of God.[i] In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the Greek word for “give thanks” is εὐχαριστεῖτε, which means to be grateful, be thankful, and is the same word associated with the giving of thanks in the Lord’s supper (see Matthew 26:27, e.g.).[ii] Thanks may be expressed in prayer, in songs of praise, in writing, in conversation, and many other ways.
When – In every thing
Giving thanks “in every thing” embraces a broad spectrum of things. Some items for which we see thanksgiving in the Bible include, what we eat, the ministry of the word, spiritual fellowship, and our spiritual inheritance. Giving thanks “in every thing” recognizes God’s providence, predestination, and preservation in every facet of our lives. We often more quickly accept the “good” and not the “evil” (Cf. Job 1:20-22, Job 2:10). Giving thanks “in every thing” embraces God as the God of all, and the giver and sustainer of all things. Ephesians 5:20 - giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. See also Philippians 4:11.
Why – This is the will of God
The construction of the statement allows us to see that “things” are the will of God and “thanks” is the will of God. Nothing happens outside the will of God, and it is God’s will that we be thankful – thankful for the things that amaze us as so obviously good, thankful for the things that we could “take or leave,” and thankful for the things we cannot possibly understand how they could ever work together for good. Truly God is good!
Almighty Father, heav’nly King!
Who rules the world above;
Accept the tribute children bring,
Of gratitude and love.
To Thee, each morning, when we rise,
Our early vows we pay;
And ere the night hath closed our eyes,
We thank Thee for the day.