Thanking God for all our fellow Christians

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2)

Paul starts his first letter to the Thessalonians by thanking God for all the members of the church in that city. I think the Thessalonians would have felt quite humble to hear that Paul valued them all this highly.

I wonder if we thank God for all our fellow believers that we worship with each week? Are we more likely to moan to God about the ones who we find it difficult to get along with than to thank Him for them? It is easy to thank God for the ones that we get along with but notice that Paul gave thanks for them all.

The Greek word used in verse 2 for all “pas” can also mean “every” or “whole”. So we can learn from Paul’s example here and thank God for everyone in church and yes that includes the difficult ones too!

If we do this then maybe it would help us to be more united as the body of Christ. Thanking God for all our fellow believers shows that we appreciate and value them. It will mean that we are less likely to criticise them. Imagine a church where there was no criticism but only thankfulness. That would be a wonderful place to worship and a place where Christ’s love radiates out for all to see.

Giving Thanks

It’s not unusual for Christians to wonder what God’s will is for their life. Normally when pondering God’s will we would be thinking of the big decisions in life for example: whether to marry a particular person, take a specific job, buy a house, become a missionary etc. However, if we search the scriptures for God’s will for us we will see that it covers far more than the big life choices previously mentioned.

In the final chapter of his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul says:

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:16-18 NIV)

As we can see from these verses, God’s will is that we give thanks in all circumstances. I wonder, when we ponder seeking the will of God for our life, whether we spend time thinking on this verse?

The will of God is very practical and simple here: give thanks. Whatever our circumstances we are instructed to give thanks.

There are obvious occasions in life when we might be feeling down and find being thankful hard. During these current unusual times in which we are living that would not be unexpected. Perhaps we are finding it difficult to know where to start. If you are unsure of what to give thanks for hopefully the following might help:

  • Give thanks that Jesus has forgiven your sins and given you new life.
  • Give thanks that Jesus has given you a new family of brothers and sisters to worship with.
  • Give thanks that you have food to eat today.
  • Give thanks that you have somewhere to live.
  • Give thanks for your health.
  • Give thanks for friends and family.
  • Give thanks for your job.

I recently read an interesting testimony from a young girl who had grown up in a Muslim country. She said that she happened to see a Christian woman thanking God in prayer on television. This caught her attention because in her experience of Islam they always asked God for something, but had never thought of thanking Him for something.

As Christians and disciples of Jesus let us be known as people who give thanks to God in all circumstances.