Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (NKJV)
Recently, I came across the story of Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran minister, who came to the German city of Eilenburg in 1637 near the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. Because the city was walled, it became overcrowded with refugees from the armed conflict in the surrounding countryside. The city was conquered by different armies three times, and Rinkart often had to house soldiers in his home.
That same year, a severe plague broke out, killing 8,000 people, including Rinkart's wife, all of the town's other clergymen, and a large number of children. Rinkart had to do the work of three pastors, conducting as many as 50 funerals a day, a total of 4,480. Many refugees were buried in trenches without a service. After the plague, the city was hit by an extreme famine. Through it all, he faithfully cared for the sick and hungry, sharing what little food he had for his own family. Rinkart remained well throughout the plague and subsequent famine.
There is good evidence that he took to heart the apostle Paul's injunction, "Be thankful in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT), for out of this experience, he wrote the hymn, "Nun danket alle Gott", translated by Catherine Winkworth:
- Now thank we all our God,
With heart, and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In Whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
What can you think of today to be thankful to God for?
Recently, someone told me about taking a "gratitude walk". She takes time out to begin her day by walking and thinking about all the things that she is thankful for. She returns with a happy mind, at peace with the challenges of managing her household. God certainly knows what's best for us when He counselled us to "be thankful in all circumstances"!
Prayer: Lord God, give us grateful hearts! Help us always to have a positive, uplifting, thankful attitude, and to look for the good in everything. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Now Thank We All Our God" (Lyrics)