I am amazed and humbled at the writings of the Apostle Paul. In nearly every one of his letters, he begins his letter with a general note of thankfulness to the church. Indeed, Paul usually ends his letter with a very specific note of thankfulness for specific people in that church. From start to finish, Paul exudes an attitude of gratitude in his letters, and truly helps us in our own endeavors to cultivate a culture of thankfulness in our own lives.
In fact, notice Paul’s words to the Church of God at Colossae:
“To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing – as it does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit” (Colossians 1:2-8).
Such words drip with thankfulness and gratefulness. Paul is incredibly thankful for these saints and their faith, love, Gospel fervor, and Gospel impact. Yes, the Apostle Paul thanks God for these incredible saints in Colossae.
You know, as we approach Thanksgiving 2017, I too (like the Apostle Paul) want to express my thankfulness for each and every one of you at Prairie Flower Baptist Church. In fact, I was thinking, if I were the Apostle Paul, what would I write to you in a letter? Well, it might go something like this:
“To the saints and faithful servants in Christ at Prairie Flower Baptist Church: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. How I thank God for you upon every remembrance of you. Your growing faith, generous spirit, and loving acts of service have been a blessing to our church family and to our community at large. How it blesses and encourages my heart to see so many of you striving after holiness and true Gospel impact. As I review this past year, how I rejoice at our new converts, like Jessica Cooper, who recently placed their faith in Jesus Christ. How I marvel at those who took their first step of obedience and were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How I thank God for the nine new members that recently joined our church this past year. Yes, I praise our great God for the fact that, though we aren’t perfect, we are becoming a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God. Indeed, I thank God for what He has done this past year in our midst. Yes, I truly thank God for you – all of you! Oh, how I love you, Prairie Flower! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving” (Prairie Strong 1:2-8).