A Pillow for Your Head

The 260 Journey
The 260 Journey
A Pillow for Your Head

Day 187

Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5

My mentor R. T. Kendall said: “The happiest pillow on which you may rest your head is the knowledge of God’s will. I cannot imagine a more miserable situation than consciously to be out of God’s will.” Paul gives us two pillows to rest on in 1 Thessalonians. Those pillows are the clear will of God. And Paul makes it very clear that we know this is what God wants for us. My friend Winkie Pratney says, “Many say they can’t get God’s guidance, when they really mean they wish He would show them an easier way.” 

Yesterday we looked at the first verse: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Sexual purity is God’s clear will, that is pillow #1. Here is pillow #2: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Paul couldn’t have stated God’s will and guidance for us any clearer: sexual purity and thanksgiving in everything. Difficult verses to live out? Absolutely. Possible to live out? Absolutely. But not without God’s help. Always remember, God will never ask us to do anything that He will not give us the power to obey.

Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica about AD 54 while he was staying in Corinth. This was also the first letter of his fourteen Epistles Paul ever wrote. It was written mainly to Gentile converts, and was in effect, a design for discipleship, a practical primer on living the Christian life. So here in the fifth chapter of his first letter he ever wrote, he tells them, in everything give thanks. Paul did not say for everything but in everything. To say “for everything” would almost seem inhumane. No one can give thanks for everything, because some really horrible things happen to us. But when it gets hard, we can find thanksgiving in the situation. We can always find something to thank God for. And that’s what Paul is telling us to do: in every situation find something to give thanks for.

How was your day? Terrible. I had a flat tire on the way to work. No. Give thanks in everything. We can thank God that He gave us a car to get a flat tire with, a job to pay for the car that we got a flat tire in, the jack in the back that was there when we got the flat, and breath that we still have because the flat tire did not go bad and hit any other cars causing a fatal accident.

Want to read the craziest I’m-thankful-in-everything scenario ever said? It has only been said in this place by only one man. Strange sounds, organs, all around him and here is the verse: “I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving” (Jonah 2:9). No big deal, you think? It is a big deal when you realize who said that! Jonah—while he was in the belly of the whale. He gave thanks when he was inside a whale. If Jonah could say it where he was then you and I can be thankful in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Famous English Bible scholar Matthew Henry was once attacked and robbed. Afterward he wrote in his diary: “Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

I believe it’s God’s will to thank Him before you ask Him. As Philippians 4:6 says, you are to make your requests known with thanksgiving.” Thank Him before you ask Him. It will purge your asking. How does thanksgiving purge the ask? Thanksgiving reminds you of all that God has already given to you.

Former New York Yankees second baseman, Bobby Richardson, who is also a strong Christian, prayed at a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This was his short prayer: “Dear God, Your will: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!” Remember what Paul said, “in everything,” not “for everything.” That’s the pillow R. T. Kendall speaks about.

In The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom relates an incident that taught her this principle of being thankful in every situation. During World War II, she and her sister, Betsy, had been arrested for hiding Jews. They were both transferred to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck and found that their living quarters were infested with fleas, making a bad situation worse. She was complaining about it one day, when her sister reminded her of Paul’s words to give thanks in everything. Then she challenged Corrie to give thanks for the fleas. She made a choice to offer thanks for the fleas anyway. Later, she found out that the fleas had actually protected them from the assaults of the German soldiers.

Christian poet George Herbert wrote these powerful words: “Thou who hast given so much to me, give me one more thing—a grateful heart!”