26th July 2012

A Lesson In Giving Thanks

“…he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.”
Acts 27:35-36 (NIV)

Paul at this point is a prisoner on a ship that is bound for Italy. He had already faced trial before two Roman Governors and was being sent to face further trial before Caesar in Rome. During their voyage at sea they were caught in a terrifying hurricane-force storm that requires them to change their course many times. The storm, which severely batters the ship, endures for many days and they have to throw cargo, supplies and food overboard to save the ship. In addition, all the men on board are hungry and have gone without food for two weeks, which makes them weak and tired. This was a terrible ordeal for all of them.

How would most people feel at this point? Scared, worried or even angry? Not Paul.  He first shows concern for the men on the ship–fellow prisoners, criminals, and his captors–those who are taking him to face trial. He urges them to eat, showing a consideration for their well being. He himself must be as hungry as the rest but when he has the bread in his hands, his very first thought and first action, is to stop and give thanks.

Despite everything, he gives thanks – for his life, for the lives of all those on the ship, for the opportunity he has to witness and perhaps much more.

What do we do when we face all kinds of trials, when we are at our lowest point? Do we first and foremost stop and give thanks? Next time we find ourselves in despair, full of frustration or pain and at our lowest ebb, lets give thanks to God, as Paul did. It will help us to focus on the light that shines in all the darkness.

Father, we give thanks for every good thing in our lives, for every blessing. We remember your abounding love, kindness and generosity. Thank you Father for all.

Study by Sinead Henderson

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