Devotional & Reflection

Week 3, Oct 2002

1 Thess 5:18 - Giving Thanks
By Sio Sk, Civil Servant and Servant of God

1 Thess 5:18 : "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I was touched by the Brazilian footballers in the World Cup finals. It was not because of their brilliant play, neither was it because of the world records they set.

I was touched by the glory the Brazilian players gave to God after they won. Right after the match was over, a few of the footballers changed into white T-shirts with the words "Jesus you" and "I belong to Jesus", knelt and bowed down to the ground to pray. Some had the words "100% Jesus" autographed over their yellow T-shirts. The Brazilian team and officials kneeling in a large circle in thanksgiving on the football field was a sight to marvel at.

In their moment of crowning glory, the Brazilians chose to give the glory to Jesus and to magnify the Lord most visibly for the world to see. The post-match fervour of the footballers for Jesus was telecast vividly to millions of viewers all over the world. Theirs was indeed a most wonderful testimony to the Lord Jesus. The words of Ronaldo, as reported by CNA, were heart-warming, "I have a lot of things to thank God for." Even in the euphoria of their triumph, the first thing the Brazilians did was to thank God.

When I mentioned to a friend how the Brazilians touched my heart, he quipped, "I do wonder about Ronaldo's reaction if they had lost". Indeed, one may wonder. But the important thing to me is the players' prompt and unreserved action in giving thanks to God. It is not often that great success is immediately attributed to God and to Him alone, let alone a World Cup trophy.

My friend did make an important point. We need to have a balanced perspective, to be able to give thanks to God for good and for bad. This is easier said than done. Not everyone of us may be able to say as Job did after he lost all his children, wealth and health: "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" (Job 2:10) It takes a spirit of maturity to learn to give thanks for everything.

In giving thanks for the bad things that happen to us, we experience healing in the process. When we recognize that all things, whether good or bad, work for good (Rom 8:28), we can then see beyond the immediate bounds of suffering and pain to the larger blessings that come within the wider, longer frame of God. This must surely bring us the comfort and consolation that we need.

1. When success comes, to whom do you give credit first - to man (be it yourself, your parents, friends, teacher, boss or mentor) or to God?
2. In bad times, do you question God or give thanks to him?
3. What are some things that you can thank God for right now?

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