oh, Gracious Me

April 5, 2017

A common feature of Paul’s letters is his practice of giving thanks to God for believers in the churches he’s writing to. In his second letter to the church of the Thessalonians, Paul twice uses the exact same phrase to let them know he is thankful for them: “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters” (2Th 1:3; 2:13).

 “Not only does he thank God for them, but he insists on telling them that he thanks God for them.”

  God gives us gifts in one another, and through one another. We are the body of Christ to one another. The recognition that God is behind all of it is central. When Paul gives thanks, he gives thanks to God. All the good works that we do for one another are repurposed gifts, redirected gifts. God first gives, and then as a consequence of this, we are able to give. But we can only give biblically if we ourselves are a gift. When we give, we are imitating God who always gives Himself in the gift. So this is why we render a two-fold thanks. When we say thank you, we say thank you first to God, and secondly to the instrument in God’s hand.

  Here are three ways you can follow Paul’s example and express your gratitude for fellow believers:

  1. Be open in your expression—Paul frequently named names when praising believers before the church. For instance, he praised Andronicus and Junia as “outstanding” apostles (see Ro 16:7). Let individuals know you’re thankful for them. But also make a habit of letting others in the church know you are thankful for those individuals too.

  2. Be generous and specific in your praise—Paul was rather effusive in his praise of Epaphroditus (see Php 2:25–30). Notice that Paul identifies Epaphroditus by noting his various roles—brother, coworker, fellow soldier, messenger—and talks about how he risked his life for the good of the church.

  3. Be thankful in prayer—Don’t just tell people you are thankful for them, let God also know how thankful you are for his servants (2Th 2:13).

In can be hard to say thank you, but once you start recognizing with gratitude what others are offering you, you won’t be able to stop. And today people are so surprised by graciousness and being humble.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.co

Remember Joe R, today in prayer

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