When I think of God wanting us to make thanksgiving a part of our lives, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 comes to mind first, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” But that’s tough. I usually understand this verse as saying that despite my circumstances God still loves me, and my sins are still forgiven. They’re both things I should want to give thanks for always.
In Philippians 1:3-5 Paul reminds us of something else we can give thanks for. He joyfully gives thanks for other Christians…every time he remembers them. That would keep him busy praying. He’s thankful because of the Philippian church’s “partnership in the gospel”. Paul seems to have a very big picture view of the church and of what God’s doing through it in the world.
I don’t often think of my fellow Christians as “partners in the Gospel”. The word “partners” communicates to me a teammate to accomplish a task. I find myself thinking of “George” as the guy that sits 3 rows back and to my left each Sunday, or as a good friend, but not necessarily as a “partner”. If you were to follow Paul’s example of joyfully thanking God for other Christians because they’re “partners in the gospel” what would come to mind for you? Is this a different way of thinking or am I just overanalysing this word?
Songs & Scripture
There’s no difficulty finding songs of thankfulness or expressing joy, but it’s more difficult to find these emotions expressed in connection with what God’s doing in the lives of others, not ourselves. Any suggestions?
- God’s Wonderful People (SFP)