Wednesday, October 12, 2005

God's will for your life--and mine

I slowed down a bit this morning. Not because the list of things I have to do suddenly decreased. Indeed, to get caught up I should making time like some of the cross country runners I so enjoy cheering on in their meets and invitationals around here.

Instead, I slowed down and walked. Quite literally. That is, I took a prayer walk, something I sometimes do to get away from the temptation simply to stay busy at home or the office. So, taking along Kenneth Boa's Handbook to Prayer, I began to walk and worship, praising God for his many blessings. And as I walked, I was reminded of God's primary calling on my life. It wasn't to get caught up on the gazillion things I have to do, as important as those things are. One of the Scriptures listed under the "Adoration" section for the day in the Handbook was 1 Thess 5:16-18:
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The mention of God's will here reminded me of a recent panel discussion I attended on "Finding God's Will in the Job Search"--and made me wish that I had mentioned this passage. For whatever God's specific will may be for our individual lives, this much is plain: he calls us to worship. To gratitude. To the giving of thanks for his blessings. In all circumstances.

Indeed, it is striking how central and pervasive thanksgiving is to be in our lives:

Ephesians 5:17-20 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is..., 20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Colossians 3:17 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It is the ultimate motivation for even our petitions in prayer. We pray for others so that they may give thanks:

2 Corinthians 1:11 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.

And Paul models such thanksgiving constantly:

1 Corinthians 15:57 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:16 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers...

Philemon 4 4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers...

1 Thessalonians 1:2 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers...

2 Thessalonians 1:3 3 We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren...
Paul can even say that the world is condemned because of its failure to give thanks!

Romans 1:20-21 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

All this makes sense, of course, because our primary vocation as human beings is to worship God. Called to be priests and kings (our twin calling as humans), we are first of all priestly worshipers. All else flows from that.

So let us give thanks. With and in all that we have to do, that's God's will for us today. Walking or running.

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At 1:12 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I needed to read this today. Thank you.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Mythopoesis said...

Good stuff, Bill! I am giving thanks to God for taking you and your heart on that perspective-restoring prayer walk!

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

I'm reminded of a the definiton of prayer by our mutual friend Scott Hafemann: prayer is "going public" with our dependency on God. Thanks for this reminder that the giving of thanks is the primary biblical means by which we do just that.

Mark T


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