Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

New Hope (Part 1) – Day 6

New hope ... with a new perspective

Bible text(s)

18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18GNBOpen in Bible reader

19Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. 20In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.

Ephesians 5:19-20GNBOpen in Bible reader

A humble, good woman arrived at the rabbi in her community. When the rabbi sat down to listen to her, she immediately fired away: “Rabbi, my husband, my children and I live in a small room and we are in each other’s way the whole time. I cannot handle it anymore!” The rabbi nodded. “Buy a few chickens,” he suggested. The woman looked at him with a frown. How would that help them? She, however, followed the rabbi’s advice.

Sometime later, the woman was back at the rabbi. This time, she was more upset. “Rabbi, the chickens are making a noise from early until late every day! The children scream. My husband and I are really losing it. Please, do you have advice for us?” Again, the rabbi nodded. “Buy a goat.” This time the woman’s frown was even deeper as she thought about the rabbi’s advice. How would a goat help them? However, out of desperation, the woman followed the rabbi’s advice.

The next day, she was back at the rabbi. “Rabbi, your council is asking too much from me. I am not holy enough. What am I to do?” This time the rabbi smiled and advised her to sell the goat and the chickens.

That following Sabbath, after the church service, the woman approached the rabbi with a big smile. “Rabbi, thank you for your excellent advice! Without the goat and the chickens, life suddenly seems wonderful. We enjoy the silence and the space. It has never been so good!”

Do you perhaps find yourself in a similar frustrating or uncomfortable situation in your life? Do you constantly complain about it or do you look for things to be grateful about? I always find it interesting how we will complain about long working hours, until we meet an unemployed person who has been looking for employment for over a year, without success. Or how we just complain about a spouse’s or child’s bad habits, just until we speak to a widow or widower, or someone who has lost a child that they intensely miss. We complain about the cellulite on our legs or the extra weight around our stomach area, just until we meet someone without legs or whose stomach had to be removed due to illness.

When we focus on the uncomfortable or frustrating situations in our lives, we miss the things in life we can still be grateful about. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we read: … give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. And in Ephesians 5:19b-20: Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every situation can shape us and form our character. We just need to ask God to help us maintain perspective during the hard times. Let us, therefore, make this year a year in which we ask him to help us stay thankful in all situations. Not only will it help us to enjoy life more; we may even start to thank God for those things that we, initially, constantly complained about! God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.19.1
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