Joy and Thanks for Others

  • Read Philippians 1:3-11 here.
  • If you missed Sunday’s sermon (12 October) you can listen to it here.


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)


  1. Jo

    “Faithful Friend” by Twila Paris and Steven C-C.

    I don’t think your over analyzing this. It’s good to take notice of the positive qualities of our brothers and sisters around us and around the world and be thankful for them. Sometimes it’s nice to be thankful for their quirks too- it’s what makes people unique. I think sometimes some are quick to micro-critique those around them.
    I don’t know about you, but I feel more productive in an environment that is welcoming and positive than in one that is negative and critical. Who wants to do Gods work when your looking over your shoulder for the next criticism from a brother or sister? That’s what I think of when I read Philippians 1:3-5. I think Paul knew how to be an encourager for those working for God, and I’m sure it was an encouragment to Paul too- to know that others were carrying out the work, even without him there to help.

    (One more song about being thankful- just for fun)

  2. rob

    I also do not think that you or the Church is over analyzing the joyfulness that we as Christians should show for each other, Everyday I thank God for everything that he has given me, I always thank our Father for the congregation at Lawson Rd as it has always been a loving, understanding Church.

  3. Cynthia H

    Without the rest of the body I don’t know how I could get through the some of the storms in my life. I thank God for each and every member of his body because they provide me with the strength, experience, wisdom, etc. to get through my storms. I find joy in knowing that I am not the first and God seems to always place the right member of his body in my life at the right time to provide me with the extra support I need to get through the storm. I also know that I will not be the last to experience life storms. Therefore, I find joy in knowing my storm will also prepare me to serve someone else. Thank you God for your amazing body!

    Brother you are not over analyzing.

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