My dad wrote this thanksgiving day devotional for a team of missionaries serving in Bangkok, Thailand. I thought is was really good and expressed what I am truly thankful for this year. His grace.
I hope you have a great day with friends, family and loved ones…wherever you may find yourself.
As we look forward on this side of the ocean to this holiday that originated in gratitude but has morphed into food, football and family time here are some thoughts on thankfulness. It is hard for me to be thankful if I think that it all depends on me. The feeling that I must do this or it won’t get done often flows out of a desire to be responsible and a hard worker. The downside is that we often lose sight of how dependent we are on Christ. These verses in Colossians 3 have challenged me to see how thankfulness relates to who Christ is to me.
15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17.
In these closing verses of this section of Paul’s letter to the Colossians Paul speaks of three characteristics of Christian character. 1) The peace of Christ should rule, 2) the Word of Christ should dwell richly in us as we teach and sing, and 3) whatever we say or whatever we do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus. That is quite a challenge. Totally absorbed in Christ, His peace, his Word, and His name. But there is one other common element in these three verses, the word – THANKS. Be thankful, have thankfulness in our hearts and give thanks to the Father. Thanks comes from “charis” the same root as the Greek word for Grace. Being filled with Christ, knowing his grace toward us creates in us thankfulness. Not only outward thanks but thankfulness in our hearts. A heart of thankfulness flows out of a heart that knows how dependent they are on Christ. Thankfulness flows out of dependency. When my heart acknowledges how dependent I am in all Christ is for me, and what he has done for me, thankfulness will flow. May God give each of us a realization of how much Christ is for us, and what he has done for us. May that flow into thankful hearts that openly give thanks to God the Father.