Caleb Duncan

One of my favorite movies is Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 sci-fi film “Back to the Future.” 

The film stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd as they go back in time in a ‘81 DMC Delorean to 1955 where the main character accidentally jeopardizes his future. The reception of the movie was critically acclaimed and has been a home favorite for years. 

A few years later, sequels were released. Sometimes, movie sequels completely bomb. Sequel reviews are highly criticized and directors who consider doing a sequel have to balance between nostalgia and quality. 

However, the sequels to this movie are pretty well done and have interesting story lines, with the exception of some language and crude humor. 

Through my study of the Bible, I’ve been surprised at the way we use “Thanksgiving” as a holiday. It’s interesting how many people treat Thanksgiving like an original movie that we watch once a year, with Christmas as a sequel holiday film. 

There is one problem with this. The very nature of Thanksgiving is a continual, ongoing action. Trust me, I understand why Thanksgiving formed as a holiday in our nation’s history and I’m glad we have a season of the year where we can express our gratitude to family and friends. 

But too often, we fail to express Thanksgiving continually. We think, “There’s a season for that.” But what if we celebrated Thanksgiving all throughout the year? 

No, I’m not talking about having family over every weekend and constantly having turkey in the oven and cornhole in the yard. I’m talking about living each day with gratitude in our hearts and expressing that to others regularly. 

Is there scripture to back this up? There certainly is, friends. 

Be amazed by this short, powerful verse in scripture! 1 Thess. 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 

When the Bible says give thanks in all circumstances, I’m not sure that leaves any circumstances out! 

It may come easy to give thanks when everything is going swell, but we hardly do this when everything starts falling to pieces. When finances are short, give thanks to God that you still have a job or a place to live. 

When gas is too high, give thanks you have a vehicle. When you’re ill, give thanks you’re still alive. When you’re spiritually attacked, give thanks that you can still trust in God. In any and all circumstances, we can give thanks. 

We have a homeless shelter in Chipley, and there are some people we help who you would never believe are hungry, homeless, and hurting. Some have faith in God and they give thanks that God gave them another day to live. When I am upset at something that happened in my life, I often think of those people who are less fortunate and still give thanks.

Another thing this scripture says is, “…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We all want to walk according to God’s will. I’ve often heard that it was said, “The best place to be is in the center of God’s will.” But in this verse we learn what the will of God is! It is to always, continually give thanks, no matter our circumstance. 

Let us not think of Thanksgiving as Part I, Part II, and Part III. Thanksgiving is an action meant to be expressed in every season of life. 

Caleb Duncan is the Director for the West Florida Baptist Association in Chipley and holds an M.A. in Ethics, Theology, and Culture from Southeastern Seminary. Email him at [email protected] or follow his Twitter @calebtduncan.