December 2, 2018

Giving Thanks For Christian Friends -Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, (I Thessalonians 1:2-3 NET).

When we rationally consider how helpless we are without God’s blessings, it becomes obvious that it is irrational to fail to be thankful. If we understand that our blessings come from God, it is certainly appropriate to express thanks for our daily bread, whether in private, at a family meal, or in public at a fine restaurant. In fact, Jesus set the example. When He miraculously fed the multitude beside the Sea of Galilee, He began with a prayer of thanksgiving:

he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks, he broke them and began giving them to the disciples, who then gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. (Matthew 15:36-37)

If we should give thanks for our food and shelter and clothing, then it certainly stands to reason that the blessing of having Christian friends is even more worthy of thanksgiving. Paul thought so and set an example we should follow.

The first letter to the Thessalonians was possibly Paul’s first inspired letter to Christian friends, and Paul began with the expression of thankfulness to God for them (see text above).

Consider the similar beginning of Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3)

Likewise, his letter to the Colossians started with thanksgiving:

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;” (Colossians 1:3-4)

He began his epistle to the church at Corinth similarly:

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,” (I Corinthians 1:4)

Even when writing to the Christians at Rome, brethren he had not yet met personally, he wrote,

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness that I continually remember you, (Romans 1:8-9)

He also thanked God for his personal friends, Timothy and Philemon.

“I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.” (II Timothy 1:3-4)

I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints;” (Philemon 1:4-5)

Throughout our life journey, we develop cherished Christian friends and we should follow Paul’s example, thanking God for all of them. What a marvelous blessing. How fitting it is to be thankful and to express our thankfulness.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

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