Title: Give Thanks—Anyway!
The Point: We can give thanks in every situation.
Get Into the Study
Consider the following as a supplement or replacement to the Introduction for this week’s session, “Give Thanks!”
This month, America voted in its 45th president: Donald Trump. After what some are calling the most volatile, polarizing presidential race in history, Trump was named President-elect. Half the country breathed a sigh of relief. The other half picked up their protest signs.
No matter who you voted for in the 2016 election, you’re probably feeling a bit of fear and anxiety as everyone waits to see what our country will look like over the next four years. California and Oregon are threatening to exit the United States. Trump protests haven’t stopped since the news of his victory broke. And 49 percent of all Republicans and 55 percent of all Democrats say the opposing side’s views make them feel afraid.
The pressure of living in our country has felt overwhelming at times — shoot, going on Facebook has felt overwhelming!
Given everything that’s happened, how do we as Christ-followers approach the celebration of Thanksgiving? How do we go into a time of uncertainty and national unrest with thankful hearts? For that matter, how do we feel thankful in our everyday lives, no matter if it’s a day when our candidate wins or loses?
The truth about deep, life-changing, biblical thankfulness can be found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). Be thankful in all things. Not just the good, not just when things are going your way, or when the country seems to be in total agreement and peace. No, Jesus calls us to be thankful in all things.
That’s the challenge for us all.
Study the Bible
In early November, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series Championship when they beat the Cleveland Indians in a 10-inning game 7. The Cubs had endured a 108-year wait to win this championship. This was the “longest championship drought by any major American sports team,” according to NBC News. Loyal Cubs fans still recall the 1969, 1984, and 2003 Cubs teams that came close to winning, but then collapsed.
“The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series is about more than a game, more than a team, and more than a sport,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “It is about generations who have come together around radios, televisions, and within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field to root for the home team and share triumphs and defeats. Cubs fans have never given up hope that this day was possible, and this young team made it happen.”
Lifelong Cubs fan, Ken Turner Sr., said, “I’m 86, and I’ve been a fan for 86 years. When I was born, I was christened a Cub. But I had given up. I knew all the concession speeches, but I didn’t know how to make a victory speech.”
Say: Longtime Cubs fans understand the feelings of powerlessness that come season after season without their home team being able to win a championship. Now at long last, they know the triumph of victory.
DISCUSS: Question #2 on page 123 of the PSG: “What are some situations that make you feel powerless?”
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
What has made you feel especially thankful this year?
Who are you most thankful for in your life? Why?
What have you been especially grateful for recently?
2 Chronicles 20:10-12
When you are going through trying times, do you find yourself leaning toward God or running away from Him? Why?
When have you sought the Lord recently? What were you seeking from Him?
What does our response to challenging circumstances reveal about our faith? What would you like for those times to reveal about your faith?
2 Chronicles 20:14-17
What was difficult about the instructions God gave His people?
Why is it important for us to watch for God at work while we endure trials?
What are some ways we can be obedient to God even in hopeless situations?
2 Chronicles 20:20-22,29-30
When has God taken care of a situation in your life in an unexpected way?
What can we learn from this passage about being thankful?
What are the benefits of demonstrating thankfulness?
Why is the timing of Jehoshaphat and Israel’s thanksgiving significant?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: