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As a pastor, I’ve witnessed the following more times than I can remember: People are gathered around a casket or around pictures of a loved one who recently died, and they begin talking about the person’s life. Then I begin thinking, “When my time comes, what will they say about me?”

When was the last time you had that thought? Or more to the point in this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, what are the odds that people will look back on your life and say, “Wow. One thing I remember about her/his life is that they were always thankful.”

To be “always thankful” sounds a little over the top, doesn’t it? And yet, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to be, “giving thanks always and for everything…” (Ephesians 5:20, ESV). On what basis? Here are five reasons we can and should be thankful all the time:

Our Salvation. If we have received God’s salvation through Christ, we have reason to thank God, forever: Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and wondrous hope for the future. We can say with Paul, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift”! (2 Corinthians 9:15, ESV)

God’s Kingdom. One day all that is temporal will be shaken and only God’s eternal kingdom will remain: His reign, perfect peace, our new home in glory, and only goodness and joy forever. Hence these words from Hebrews, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT).

God’s Reign. Our salvation and God’s kingdom cannot fail because the Almighty God reigns over every circumstance. In fact, the Lord promises to use each situation we face to advance His eternal purposes. Hence the admonition, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5.16-18, NIV).

Answered Prayer. God may not always answer our prayers in the way we would like, but He will always respond according to His great wisdom. If we believe this, we will be motivated to bring all of our concerns before Him, allowing His peace and thanksgiving to fill our hearts. In Paul’s words, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT, italics added).

God’s Love. We read throughout Scripture that God is love. Take a few moments to read through Psalm 136 carefully. Every one of its 26 verses reminds us to give thanks to the Lord because His love toward us is so great that it touches every aspect of our lives, always. He is so good! Amen!

William Campbell

Author, Founder and President of Scripture Awakening. Host of Beyond Words Radio.