December 11, 2012

Rejoice Always

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Rejoice always … for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


“What does God want from me, and what does he want for me?” These two big questions nag us throughout life. We try to decide on a career, a school, a partner—or even smaller things, like what book to read, film to see, or game to play. And we may wonder, “What does God want?”

Well, one thing is clear: he wants us to rejoice—always!

The adverb “always” trips us up. How is it possible to rejoice always? How can we give thanks when we are sick or in a recession, or when we get a poor grade or lose a friend?

It must be possible, or God would not “will” it for us.

Moreover, Paul makes it plain enough, even adding that we are to “give thanks in all circumstances.” A preacher may point out to us in a sermon sometime that “rejoice” and “give thanks” are related in the Greek language in which Paul was writing. Both words have grace as their root.

I wonder if it helps to ponder the last words of verse 18: “in Christ Jesus.”

I may have lost my job or wrecked my car, but God wills me to rejoice anyway “in Christ Jesus.” This will take some pondering, but there is a way to joy there. (Hint: Giving thanks in all circumstances is not the same as giving thanks for all circumstances.)

Lord, help us to see the possibility of joy “always” in con-nection with having peace in Christ, for we know you are always with us and our souls are secure in your hand. Amen.

About the author — Morris Greidanus

Beginning in 1964, Morris Greidanus served churches in Alberta, Ontario, and Michigan. He was campus pastor at the University of Toronto from 1968 to 1974. After retiring in 2002, he served on various interim tasks in churches and educational institutions until he passed away in 2017. Morris and his wife, Alice, were married 58 years and had three children, five grandchildren, and a growing number of great-grandchildren.

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