A great challenge for Christians is to be thankful to God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:15-17, English Standard Version). Let’s look at several points here.
First, Christians are to be thankful for the relationships with other believers in the Church. We all fall short in so many ways (Romans 3:23), and the more we are involved in the Church, we become more conscious of our own failings, and unfortunately, the failings of others. We are responsible for bearing with them, and encouraging them and ourselves to higher living. We do that by being thankful for our brothers and sisters, and for the blessings they bring into our mutual relationship with Christ. We are to be people grateful for the grace that saves us, for the blood that has redeemed us, and for the hope that fills us and the presence of Christ that is with us. We should be thankful to be part of the very best thing on this side of heaven.
Second, we deepen our thankfulness through several means: a.) We meditate on the Word of Christ–that is, the Bible, especially the New Testament–to know how we are to think and act Biblically in this dispensation. We allow it to dwell in our hearts. b.) We are to apply that Word daily and encourage one another with it. c.) We are to sing our thanksgiving regularly. It is hard to be gloomy when you are singing. Accompanying every Christian’s Bible in our devotions ought to be a good hymnal.
Third, everything we do is to be in thanksgiving. That’s an arresting thought–whatever we say or do is to be done for the name and sake of Jesus Christ. When we do our work around the house, it is for Christ. When we gather to worship, it’s not for us, it is for the honor and glory of Jesus. When we go into the world, it is with thankful hearts that Jesus has saved us from sin and for good works. When we raise our children, is for them to serve Christ. What is evident is the excellency of Jesus Christ in every matter.
Fourth, Thanksgiving is a natural part of our life in Christ. It needs to be cultivated. Thanksgiving is a daily part of our life, and not merely reserved for the fourth Thursday in November.
We should as often share our thankfulness as we do our prayer concerns. Are we as quick to share thanks as we are to share our problems?
Craig Alan Myers – Executive Board Member