Sometimes when I read the bible I'm left brimming with questions, sometimes I'm refreshed in the knowledge of something I already knew, but I cherish those moments when God helps me catch a glimpse of something I've never noticed before. As you read this passage lookout for the places where Paul mentions thankfulness or gratitude. “And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15b-17) Paul mentions thankfulness and gratitude a lot! What stirred up his gratitude?
Did you notice that even being admonished stirred up Paul's gratitude? The more I think about this the more I agree with this sentiment. When God gently admonishes me of my impatient spirit or idolatry of comfort (or various other matters) and guides my spirit towards what is pleasing to him, my sense of assurance of his salvation being worked out in me is greatly emphasised and stirs me to feel very thankful!
Did you wonder why Paul mentions singing psalms, hymns and songs here of all places? There is a thankfulness that is only possible when God opens our spiritual eyes to delight in that which is beyond this material world and we catch a glimpse of the eternal glory of God that was once hidden from us. Music lends itself so naturally to the contemplation of God’s eternal glory and stirs me to feel very thankful!
Did you stop to ask: what does it mean to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus? As Christians, everything we do impacts the reputation of our Lord. We are ambassadors for his nation: the kingdom of God. Paul says that we should do this while “giving thanks to God the Father”. As I think about God's grace in calling me to be an ambassador of the most powerful kingdom in the world when I was previously an object of his wrath, it indeed stirs me to feel very thankful!
How thankful indeed I was feeling after reflecting on this passage. And then I had a new thought: my thanksgiving is usually too small. Yes, God delights in our thanks for the flowers, the weather and our lunch. But how often do I stop to contemplate these things of eternal consequence and give thanks? And how would I have even turned my mind to these bigger matters if I hadn’t been reading my bible and had my mind directed to these thoughts by Paul? Will you pray with me this week that God will help us pray bigger prayers of thanks that touch upon things of eternal and cosmic significance? Will you pray with me this week that God will help us to find content for such prayers through reading the Bible?