For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16
Take a look at Ephesians 1, Philippians 1, and Colossians 1. All three chapters have a section, sometimes a lengthy one, where Paul gives thanks for the believers in the church he is writing to. True, a thanksgiving section was typical for letters at this time, but Paul also genuinely seems to mean it. He really loves the people he is writing to and wants their best. He enjoys and treasures the time that they spent together and their memory really does fill him with joy and thanksgiving.
Do you resonate with Paul’s love for his fellow believers? Sometimes this can be hard to do. Every church community will fall short and fail one another- sometimes in serious ways. For those of us dealing with hurtful or even abusive interactions with other Christians it can be extremely difficult to summon a glimmer of thankfulness in the midst of the pain and frustration. Even if our frustrations are fairly low stakes, disappointment can cloud our view of our church body.
It can take work to find reasons to be thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but there are reasons to be thankful. Thankful for the volunteers who help our church run. Thankful for those who gather to study Scripture and pray together week after week. Thankful for the kids who run around the building. Thankful for friends and strangers who gather together to worship our God. Thankful that we do not walk the path of faith alone.
Who are you thankful for? Write a thank you note (or thank you email) to someone in our church body. Don’t stop there. Pray Paul’s prayer for them as well. And if you find yourself struggling to be thankful for anyone or anything in the church right now, ask God to bring someone to mind.
By Jessica Rust