In Everything with Thanksgiving
Rev. Fr. John Kostas

Very few of us in this world can be called ingrates. Most of us try to accentuate the positive. We count our blessings, looking at life as though it were a scale, with the good things outweighing the bad.

That’s good as far as it goes. But St. Paul’s style of thanksgiving goes much further.

Pauline style thanksgiving is all inclusive — given always and for all things.

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul writes:
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philemon 4:6)

Philippians was written from a prison, where Paul was facing trial and likely death. Yet the letter is filled, not with despair or bitterness, but with joy and peace and thanksgiving. It radiates the love and the power and the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ even in times of great affliction.

This peace is beyond our understanding or the world’s power. But it is not beyond our reach.

Why? Because, St. Paul tells us, “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

There it is again. Everything works for good. St. Paul’s faith in this reality is so deep and sure that he even refuses to count sufferings as weighing against his joys and blessings. Indeed, his sufferings seem at times to compete with his blessings as a source of joy and thanksgiving!