Thursday, November 22, 2018
Colossians 1:3-5 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
It is likely that for you, today will be one of the largest gatherings of family and friends during the year. I know it is for me and my family. We will hunt deer, eat turkey, and watch football. But mostly, we will rejoice to see how the family has grown and what God is doing to bring them all to maturity in their faith.
Traditionally in our family, we spend time at the meal thanking God for things he has done in our lives. This year, I am going to add a new twist to that familiar theme. It is based on Paul’s words to the Colossian church that are printed above. Instead of focusing on what God is doing for me, I am going to focus on what I see God doing in others.
Paul says there are three specific things that motivate his thanksgiving when he sees them in the lives of others:
- Recognizable faith
- Unconditional love
- Motivational hope
I see all three in members of my family. I see grandparents, parents, and children who are unmistakably living out their faith in their jobs, their families, their schools, and their relationships with others. I always thank God for their faith.
I see family members who are learning the irreplaceable joy that comes from sacrificing their own desires for the sake of someone else’s plans. I see children giving up their time, their toys, and their treasures to serve their siblings and their Savior with what they have. I see parents who are sacrificing their recreational preferences for the sake of fulfilling their children’s recreational opportunities. I see apologies met with forgiveness. I see rejection replaced with reconciliation. I see sibling rivalry turn into sibling reinforcement. I see unconditional love, and I always thank God for it.
I see family members who are motivated to live their faith publicly and love one another personally by the hope they have in Christ’s return and His coming glory. I see sacrifices of this earth’s fading treasures for the sake of building treasures in heaven that will never fade away. I see time spent by parents teaching and training their children about eternal values because they know our only hope is in what will never pass away. For this I always give thanks.
I challenge you, on this Thanksgiving, to change the focus of your gratitude from being about self, to what you see in others. Let’s make this Thanksgiving extra special by building others up and encouraging them with what we see God doing in their lives.