“...giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...” Ephesians 5:20
As a wrap up to this Thanksgiving week-end, my church had a day of thanksgiving where most of the sermon time was set aside so that people within the church could share with the rest of the congregation what they were most thankful for this past year. The service itself was very moving, thought provoking, and beautiful as each person with varied reasons stood up and shared what they felt led by the Spirit to share. But, this evening as our small group came together, the following question was posed: " How can we be thankful like the bible teaches us to be thankful in Ephesians 5:20?"
As I was still thinking about that discussion after getting home this evening, I thought that maybe there was a greater meaning to that particular verse if I were to look at it in its original Greek, and so I put out a few of the words and set to figuring out what I could find through a bit of investigative work.
Here is what I found:
giving thanks (eucharistéō) – means the giving of a good response repetitively by a catalyst which is undeserving of that type of response. This word is closely related to its female counterpart, eucharistía, which is used to represent Holy Communion – a celebration of thanksgiving for the cross, a symbol that in itself was very undeserving of a good response, but because of the work performed by Jesus on it, it has become a symbol of thanksgiving because of what it represents.
always (pantŏtĕ) – at all times
for (hupĕr) – over, above, and beyond the place that is being spoken of
all things (pas) – including all dimensions of the subject being considered
Therefore, if we put all of these words with expanded meanings back into the verse, we have the following passage before us:
“...keep having good responses to those things in your life that are undeserving of the good responses you give them – make your good responses little celebrations of what will come out of them – making sure that your response time and time again never wavers, but that all the time and over all the encompassing factors of these less than ideal situations, even into the remotest possibilities each of those situations could bring about, you respond in the perscribed manner towards God (your only worthy audience) and in the name (or ultimate faith towards that) of Jesus the Lord...”
As our pastor concluded his sermon today, he said somethings that struck a cord with me then and now I feel needs to be repeated here: “The most convincing demonstration of gratitude is lived-out thanksgiving.” Towards God we must live out His commanded good response because He is deserving of that response from us, our situations do not change our need to behave in that manner towards Him. But the added bonus of our actions in this manner towards God is that those who are on the outside will see how we act contrary to the way the rest of the world acts when bad situations come and these choices to follow God's commands over our own natural reactions will show our faith and trust in the Lord and will be the pillars that convince the world of their need for Jesus.