Imagine this scenario: You are at dinner with a couple friends sharing about your relationship with Christ. You are telling them how Jesus has changed your life. Really changed your life. Before becoming a Christian you despised this world and hated everything about it.
The next table over hears your conversation and becomes upset. They tell you to be quiet, but you are so filled with joy you can’t keep your feelings to yourself. For the first time in your life you wake up with hope. Your life now has purpose. You want to tell everyone how your life has changed.
After a few minutes, these people leave. You think everything is fine, until a mob enters the restaurant. They begin taunting and threatening you. There is no Jesus. There is no hope. There is no reason to be thankful.
You plead with them about the goodness of God and the miracles of Christ. However, your words only anger them. Before you know what’s happening, they drag you out of the restaurant. They begin to beat you. They walk over to a near by construction site and begin to pick up large stones that being used to build a giant wall. They pick up the largest stones they can carry. They throw these large stones at you. Once the people think they have killed you, they literally drag you outside the city and leave you for dead. They are so disgusted with Christians they don’t even want a dead body inside their city.
This is what happened to the Apostle Paul. Even after he was beaten and left for dead, he still risked his life to encourage the early churches. In Philippians 4:6 he tells the church in Philippi, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for everything you have.” Giving thanks is not a command, but an opportunity we have through Christ.