Several hundred volts are necessary to resuscitate an unresponsive human heart and restore it to normal function. Jolting words like ‘radical’ are apparently necessary to resuscitate an ungrateful human heart. Some think radical means ‘extreme,’ but the dictionary primarily defines it as ‘a return to the basics.’ God is simply taking our pulse and restoring us to normal Christian gratitude. But what characterizes the healthy heart that He is listening for? Simply this: “Give thanks always and for everything.” (Ephesians 5:20)
“Always? And for everything? I don’t think so – that’s absurd and impossible!”
So it seems… but consider the theological flipside of Romans 8:28. If we really believe what we freely confess (that God is working “all things together for our good”) then why don’t we thank Him for “all things”? Why do we accept good from His hand, and not bad? (Job 2:10) But what is good? or bad? When we establish ourselves as judges to decide what is good and bad, and what we will thank God for, we base those decisions on the limited perspective of our own understanding and feelings. Since we only “know in part,” our conclusions will inevitably be, at best, incomplete and precarious.
Ann Voskamp (‘One Thousand Gifts’) says that to thank God “always and for everything” is extending faith to “a God who wastes nothing… to a God who alone knows all.” And that “when I only give thanks for some things, aren’t I likely to miss giving God glory in most things?” Biblical gratitude is not simply a feeling but a radical action of trust, expressing the conviction that God is truly at work for our good. The choice is ours: “That which I refuse to thank Christ for,” Ann says, “I refuse to believe Christ can redeem.” That’s radical.
- This blog was written by Dick Grout, the Director of Worship at Elim Bible Institute, as a part of the Radical Series at EGC.