I think ALL of us who have ever been parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have at some point in our lives found ourselves reminding a child that there are starving children in other parts of the world. We generally do this for two reasons. First, we do it because we are trying to get the child to eat their Brussel sprouts or some other food that the child is seriously questioning whether or not it’s even edible! The other reason we do this is an attempt to get the child to be thankful for what they have. However, as Christians we should NOT have to remind ourselves that there are people worse off than us in order to be thankful. We should also not have to wait until the fourth Thursday in November to be reminded to be thankful.
Don’t look now, but another Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. This typically means that pastors will use this time of year to remind those around them to be thankful. I am no exception to that! However, I also want to remind you that Christians are called to be constantly and consistently thankful. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul reminds his readers that we do not have anything that was not given to us. In James 1:17, the earthly brother of Christ reminds us that ALL good and perfect gifts come from God. So, everything that we have, whether we think we earned it or not, was a gift from God the Father Almighty.
With this in mind, I want to encourage you to take some time this month to read through Paul’s letter to the Colossians. While you’re doing this, take a pencil or a highlighter and mark each time Paul encourages his readers to be thankful or to give thanks. Keep in mind, there was no Thanksgiving holiday that Paul was addressing. Instead, Paul was writing this letter to the Colossian church in response to news that there was a dangerous false teaching spreading through the church. What was one of the most common ways Paul encouraged the church to protect themselves from the false teaching? It was to be thankful!
Let me give you a couple of passages to help get you started. In Colossians 1:11-12 he says, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Think about that for a second. We are not qualified on our own to share in the inheritance of the saints. It is God who qualifies us! I’ll give you one more. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving should be a staple of ALL of our prayers. As Christians, we are called by God to come to him often (Paul tells the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing) with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Here is hoping that each one of you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and that you use this time to reflect on your level of thankfulness throughout the year.
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