Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
The apostle Paul is telling us that an attitude of overflowing thankfulness is to distinguish Gospel-soaked saints, regardless of the cost or circumstance. Please note that this exhortation came from a man who knew hardship and suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Paul was no “ivory tower” teacher! Paul wrote most of the New Testament, and he wrote most of it from behind prison walls. But regardless of the circumstances he faced, he was marked by overflowing thankfulness because He intimately knew the One to whom he was so thankful.
Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:1-6)
Here is the man who went from being a persecutor of the Church (Saul) to a pastor in the Church (the apostle Paul). He went from hating Christians to helping Christians. He went from murder to ministry . . . and he kept on with that ministry until his very last breath. And he did it against all odds with a heart that was overflowing with thankfulness.
One of the keys for Paul was found in the fact that he never lost sight of who he was before Jesus showed up. He never forgot the black condition of his heart prior to his Damascus road experience and how Jesus breathed new life into him. He knew the radical change that the Lord Jesus Christ made in his heart.
So, as we approach Thanksgiving Day this week, let us pause for a moment to count our many blessings. Don’t bother to try to name them “one-by-one,” as the Bible song says, because there are far too many to number. We simply need to live a life of overflowing thankfulness by sharing the love of Christ with everyone we encounter.
Take a moment this week to tell someone special just how much they mean to you. Make that long overdue phone call. Write that note of appreciation you have been meaning to write for as long as you can remember. God will be glorified and it will be good for your soul!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!