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Giving Thanks

by | Jul 9, 2022 | Thankfulness

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the Word of the truth, the Gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you … giving thanks to the Father.

(Colossians 1:1-9a, 12a ESV)

It seems to me that Paul must’ve spent a lot of time praying! He wrote to so many churches, and in every case but one, he starts out by saying something similar to this: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” He is praying for these people regularly, and in particular, he is giving thanks for them—he is overflowing with gratitude.

Now that’s a thing we don’t hear very often. Oh, we pray for each other, yes—especially when somebody is in need—but giving thanks for each other is maybe a bit less common. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Take a look at the Christians around you—the people you live with, work with, play with, or worship with. What do you see in them that is worth thanking God for? You might even make a list. For example, Paul noticed the strong faith of the Colossians. Is there someone you know who has strong faith, and it comes out in their life? Paul also mentions the love the Colossians showed to others. Do you know someone whose acts of love are making a difference in the world?

It is right for us to notice these things, because ultimately we are giving thanks for the work of God Himself. Other Christians are wonderful, and that’s no surprise, because they are reflecting the glory of Jesus Christ Himself. He is the One who loved us so much that He came to be our Savior. He lay down His life for us to rescue us from the power of evil. And then He rose from the dead and shares the same everlasting life with all of us who trust in Him. Now there’s a reason to give thanks!

WE PRAY: Thank You, Lord, for all that You have done and for what You do through Your people. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on July 6, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
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Reflection Questions:
1. Name someone whose faith you admire.
2. Name someone whose loving actions reflect Jesus Christ.
3. Take a moment to pray, giving thanks to God for these people.

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