“A Heart of Gratitude”

Colossians 3:1717 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Thanksgiving season is upon us and Christmas is always soon to follow.  The seasonal shift always brings about extra work to accommodate the change.  Shorter days, colder nights have a certain charm, but most of us would prefer the warm sun and green of spring.  This season can be overwhelming.  If we’re honest, life can often seem overwhelming at any time of the year. 

I have found in my own heart and mind that there is so much to pray for, sometimes I don’t know where to begin.  A wonderful place to begin is giving thanks.  A heart of gratitude to God has always been a foundational element of worship and prayer.  1 Chronicles 25:2 summarizes king David’s establishment of the sons of Asaph as chief musicians in the Temple.  Their purpose is described at the end of the verse, “…who prophesied in giving thanks and praising the LORD.”  This is such a basic and fitting response to God, that even unbelievers will be held accountable for failing to do so in a general way.  God’s passive judgment is enacted in Romans 1 because “…even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks…”  If you’re struggling in your prayer life – or in life overall – start with thanksgiving.

The Apostle Paul is a wonderful example of this, and an encourager in it as well.  Note how often he gives thanks and tells the church he’s thankful for them.  For example, 1 Corinthians 1:4  4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,…  And the theme continues: “…I too…do not cease giving thanks for you…” (Eph. 1:15-16), “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…” (Phil. 1:3), “We give thanks to God…praying always for you…” (Col. 1:3).  Not only is this a daily prayer practice of Paul – but coincides with his “remembrance” of the churches.  When he thinks about them, he gives thanks for them.  Then, he tells them this to encourage them.  I want to encourage you.  My family and I are so grateful for Calvary and its long-standing ministry.  It is a wonderful spiritual family.  Thank you for your encouragement to us, and your labor of love for the Lord and His mission.  

Remember to give thanks this season.  If you are struggling to have a consistent prayer life, start by giving thanks, especially for those in the church that have been a blessing to you.  Consider thanking God for them, and then telling them.  But broader than that, thank God for all kinds of things – even the hard things and challenges in your life.  He deserves our gratitude.  But I think you’ll also find that it opens our heart to pray more deeply, and in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).

Thanks! See you Sunday,

Pastor Dave

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