You can’t leave anything out. You have to include the whole thing – every little bit. That’s just how it works.
That’s what Paul was saying when he gave us instruction concerning the Spirit-filled life. He said it includes a thankful spirit for everything. You can’t leave anything out. That’s just the way it works. In Ephesians 5:20 Paul puts it this way: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” You see, giving thanks includes “for all things.”
The word “all things” is a single word in the original that puts emphasis on every part included in the whole of something. It’s the Greek word “pan”, which shows up in our English words as a prefix. Pantheism is the idea at God is in everything. Pan-American is all the Americas – North America, South America, Central America. Pan, means the whole thing.
Now think about that in terms of what Paul says in Ephesians 5:20. He says that we are to give thanks “for all things.” Well, some things are easy to give thanks for, and other things are a little harder. But there are some things that seem downright impossible. So, how can I give thanks for a tragedy, or terminal illness, or a great misfortune (some terrible evil)? Well, the idea here is not that we are thankful for the thing itself (some things are inherently evil, and not deserving of thanks). But what we are thankful for is that God is there for us, and can turn even bad things to our good.
Remember Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” So I guess I really can give thanks “for all things.”
Hey – Thanksgiving may be over, but giving thanks to God is never over! We need to be thankful even when it isn’t Thanksgiving Day.