Persecution abounds. Your fellow citizens have turned their back on you. You are the traitor. The black-sheep. You shamed your family and your community. In fact many think that by you accepting this new religion that the gods will be angered and will punish the people. Or just as bad the emperor will be!
To this background the man who had taught you the message of Jesus tells you to be thankful. The message you accepted as the word of God. The message that, because of that acceptance, was causing you to be persecuted. His words are not just hollow cliches. No, this man himself has on his body the “marks of Jesus,” the marks of one who has faced suffering and yet He is thankful. His command to you is in all things be thankful.
How can you be thankful, when life is not going your way? We are not facing persecution like those in the early church (we as in us in American some of my foreign readers might be), but we do face suffering. How do we maintain thankfulness in spite of sometimes less than ideal circumstances. In my mind I focus on two areas: Creation and Redemption. Throughout Scripture we see people thanking God for these two things. No matter what happens in your life, no matter what you might face, God is always the Creator and Redeemer. And we can always be thankful for that. So in all things give thanks!
We would be nothing without you. We would not exist without you. Without you even if we did exist we would have no hope. But because of you Father we have both. To this we say Thank You.
Through Your Son,