As we listened to Paul’s letter to the believers in Thessalonica earlier this year, I was struck by Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 1:3: “We ought always to thank God for you brothers, and rightly so.” These words are echoed later in the same letter: “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers” (2:13).
Giving thanks to God does not come naturally to us, but we ought to do it. Why?
As it happens, there were many reasons for Paul to be anxious about his friends in Thessalonica. They were suffering persecution (1:4), as he had done when with them (see Acts 17:1-9). However, the obligation to give thanks to God arose from the clear evidence of God’s great kindness that was obvious for those with eyes to see. The faith of these Thessalonians was growing more and more, and so was their love for one another (1:3). They were persevering in faithfulness through these difficult days (1:4). And so, says Paul, we ought to give thanks to God. We must not take these wonders for granted. They are great and generous gifts from God.
Every person in our St Thomas’ Church family is a reason why we really ought to give thanks to God. Here at St Thomas’ we are experiencing exactly the same powerful kindness of God that those Thessalonian Christians experienced: faith growing, love increasing, perseverance through difficulties. Such things should never be taken for granted. We ought always to give thanks to God. It is only right!
Let’s do it. Today.
John Woodhouse (Acting Senior Minister)