Expressing Thanks for One Another

Philemon 4-5

One thing my African-American colleagues have taught me is that whether I’m speaking in chapel at SBIC, giving the Sunday morning message at St. John’s or Agape, or simply connecting with a friend, it’s wise to begin with thanksgiving and appreciation.

First century letters almost always included a warm appreciation section as a bridge between the letter opening and the body of the letter that got down to business about what the letter was about, but Paul deepened this expected thanksgiving section. He poured out thanks for his fellow believers’ faith in Christ and about how their faith fleshed itself out in acts of love toward Christian brothers and sisters.

We also get an instructive insight into Paul’s prayer life. 

“I thank my God constantly for you remembering you in my prayers, because I hear about your self-sacrificial love for all the saints and your faith in the Lord Jesus.” 

This week as we pray for other believers, let’s spend time thanking God for concrete actions of love we see them expressing toward one another. For example, I ran into a fellow believer at a local restaurant the other night while Mary and I waited for some friends to show up. He wanted to know all about what we were doing now and expressed thanks for our times worshiping together in the past. Our friends arrived and we sat down at another table. When the waitress brought our bill, she said, “Yours is already taken care of.” Without saying a word, the brother in Christ that I had briefly reconnected with had picked up our tab. 

LORD, again I see Paul almost over-the-top in how he gushes out thanks and love for his fellow believers. I’m also challenged by how he always has brothers and sisters on his heart as he talks with you.    

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