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Pastor K.L. Burrus
By Pastor K.L. BurrusTrue Everfaithful Baptist Church
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
The mark of a cultured person is measured by what society calls etiquette. We are characterized as either polite or impolite, as rude or refined, by our ability or inability to make proper use of etiquette.
Etiquette says there are certain responses to certain situations. If you ask a favor, it is anticipated that you will follow up your request with the word "Please." If you make a mistake, you indicate your error by saying "My apology."
If you interrupt others, either in their conversation or in their activity, it's correct to say, "Excuse me." And if someone does something for you, in response to his or her kindness you ought to say, "Thank you." That is the lesson of etiquette.
And of all the breeches of etiquette, of all the bad manners, I don't know of one that cuts more deeply than failure to say, "Thank you." You may have all the positions you want, your financial resources may be better than others, your attainments may be above your peers, but if you don't have enough sense to say, "Thank you," something is still wrong with you.
It may be there are those who are unaware that they ought to say it. They don't ever worry about why things happen or what causes things to come into place. Far as they know, it's always been there. Far as they know it's always been like this. So they're unaware of the obligation to say, "Thank you," because in their thinking, you haven't done anything.
Then there may be those who are just unable to say it. Thank you is not apart of their vocabulary. They have a hard time expressing thanks. You may not have any money, but you can have manners. You may be poor, but you can be polite. Everybody ought to learn to say, "Thank you."
In the text, Paul is addressing his letter to a very young church in Thessalonica that was founded in the midst of great and active opposition. They feared that Paul's continuance in the city could only bring death; so the brethren sent him away.
So, in order that their hope might be sustained in the midst of persecution, Paul sent them a letter about Christian etiquette.
First, Paul says in the 15th verse, "See that none render evil for evil." You can't live the Christian life on a payback philosophy.
Secondly, Paul says, "Rejoice." Complaining doesn't change anything. It won't make your situation any better. All complaining does is amplify your frustration, spread discontent and it gives an invitation for the devil to cause more havoc in your life.
Thirdly, Paul says, "Pray without ceasing." Don't ever stop praying because prayer still changes things. Because prayer is more than a time to thank God, ask God, praise God, it's also a time to listen to God and Satan wants you to miss the conversation. The forces of darkness are aimed at our prayer life and that's when you have to be more determined to do as Paul said, "Pray without ceasing."
Then Paul says, "In everything give thanks." The verse is encouraging us to see the bigger picture, to be reminded that God is in control and we can trust Him even when bad things are happening.
Paul gave us the reason for thanking God in Romans 8:28, "all things work together..." So no matter what your circumstance today, you can still say, "Thank you."
If I couldn't say it, I'd just wave my hand, but because I can talk, I'll say, "Thank you, Jesus; thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus; thank you, Lord. You've brought me from a mighty long way."