And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
This week’s devotional is from Lucy McMillan, Higher National Co-Ordinator for The Message Trust.
If I’m being completely honest Colossians 3:17 is a verse, that when reading through the book of Colossians, would be easy to skip over. It’s something we already know – another way to say ‘be like Jesus and be thankful’. But this verse deserves to be paused over and with that comes and incredible challenge for all of us.
Paul who was suffering in prison had no idea when he would die and yet is writing about thankfulness. He wasn’t just thanking God before eating or before he went to sleep, he has a lifestyle of thankfulness that transformed his perspective entirely and gave him a complete security and faith in God.
Someone once challenged me to assess each day whether or not I had thanked God for anything more than my food. But the thankfulness that Paul is talking about is so much more than saying thank you for a lasagne. How do we live a thankful lifestyle? The kind that transforms what we do and say to be more like Jesus?
Thankfulness should be something that distinguishes us as followers of Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for. The things others do for us, the people in our lives, the homes we live in, the finances we have and yes even the lasagnes we can eat. But most of all we have God to thank for these endless blessings. For even when don’t feel blessed – we are.
If we aren’t thankful then how easy it is to forget God’s character and how entirely dependent we are on him? You know when you’re a kid and you receive gifts on your birthday and you receive a great gift which in that moment you completely love, then soon the excitement of that gifts wears off and you’re just waiting to open the next gift to feel excited again. And the process goes on. Well that’s a bit of a picture of the way we can view thankfulness sometimes – we are thankful for the objects, people, situations as they arise bit then soon this wears off and we are in content waiting for the next thing we can be thankful for.
There is nothing that restores contentment for life more than being aware of the things we should constantly be thankful for and choosing to focus on them in every situation.
There are more reasons than any of us can count to be thankful and those don’t change with our circumstances. So, wherever you’re at today, how you feel, whatever your week throws at you – remember you have choice over your perspective of it all.
Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives, thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us. Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times. Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life. Forgive us for when we don’t thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh. Renew our spirits and fill us with your peace and joy. We love you and we need you, this day and every day. We give you praise and thanks, for you alone are worthy!
Below you’ll find a selection of different challenges around the theme of ‘thankfulness’. You can choose to do one or all of them, for just one day or every day this week. The decision is yours…
Write down 10 things that you are thankful for
Only pray prayers for gratitude for one whole day
When you buy an item (food, toiletries etc) buy two and give one away to a friend, neighbour or foodbank
Share a photo of something you’re thankful for on social media using #LentThanks