Brother Choong-Won Kang sent me a copy of a book he wrote called “Thanksgiving Strategy.” He worked at Motorola, Texas Instruments, and GE as an engineer and manager and made great contributions in semiconductor chip manufacturing. He eventually started his own hi-tech company. He is also one of the 6 founding members of Seoul Baptist Church.
The book’s message is that giving thanks to God even in dire circumstances turns problems into blessings. He admonishes his readers to give thanks — constantly, audibly, specifically, earnestly, immediately, and for everything — and bless those who give you hard time. He calls this the “thanksgiving strategy.” The book shares many stories that show how this strategy really works.
I normally don’t approve of these kinds of books because they tend to pick one particular aspect of the Christian faith and make it a tool for a specific purpose. Those who believe in the power of positive thinking or New-Age philosophy also believe that giving thanks brings blessings. But I liked this book because it gives examples of what I have been thinking about God’s dealing with humans these days.
After his resurrection, Jesus declared to his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The Apostle Paul says that Jesus obtained this authority after he had accomplished his victory by rising from the dead and that he let us share in his victory through God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14). Thus we are not discouraged by hardships because our eventual victory is guaranteed: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
When we understand these truths, we can also understand why Paul gives this command: give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This command is not a method of solving life’s problems or receiving God’s blessings. He is merely stating the fact that we cannot help but be thankful because God works for the good of those who love Him in all things, including troubles and accidents.
I don’t think that repeating words of thanks like a mantra turns problems we encounter into blessings. But giving thanks even when we are in trouble helps us see circumstances from God’s perspective and keeps us from making rash decisions. And when we wait on God, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, He will eventually turn calamities into blessings.
I warmly recommend this book.
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