This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff.
ENCOUNTER: Read Colossians 2:6,7
"So then, 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.”
What would you say if you were asked the question, “What kinds of things should characterize a Jesus-follower’s life as they strive to continue walking with him? I mean, there are a lot of important things that I’m sure we could think of. I don’t know about you, but I find it a bit surprising that when the apostle Paul writes about this to the Colossians, he includes the concept of being thankful. I’m not sure why I am surprised, but I guess it seems a bit sappy. Maybe it even feels a bit passive to me. And yet there it is. And he didn’t just talk about being thankful, he talked about overflowing with thankfulness. And if you do a cross reference study on this word thankfulness, you see that it is a HUGE part of the biblical teaching and encouragement.
Why do you think thankfulness is such a big deal in the biblical record? What effect do you think practicing gratitude has on us that God doesn’t want us to miss? Why would Paul make sure that he added the qualifier “overflowing” to his admonition?
It is worth thinking about those questions as we reflect on our lives during this weekend of Thanksgiving festivities. I’m sure the answer to these questions isn’t single dimensional, but I do think a big part of the power of thankfulness is simply that it orients us and puts us in a right relationship with our God/our Creator/our Father/our Savior who is the giver of “every good and perfect gift.”
Wouldn’t it honor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit if we each took a few minutes out of our holiday weekend to brainstorm, maybe journal, about all the ways that God’s goodness has been shown to us - even in the “hard” stuff that we have faced this year.
BE A BLESSING:
The people who have reflected on how good God is are the ones who have SO MUCH to give to others! This is because they are “overflowing!” See the connection? When we are thankful - and over-the-top, overflowing thankful - we spill that love and joy and hope all over everybody around us. It is entirely possible that the best way to love and bless your family, neighbors, even strangers this Thanksgiving is for you to be full and overflowing with your own gratitude to God.
At the Mazzariello thanksgivings, as in many of your traditions, we always go around the table and share what we are especially thankful to God for. This tends to start out quite sweet and nice, but as the evening and the sharing continues, the sheer weight of glory starts to dawn on all present. There is a collective growing awareness - reminder - reorientation - that God’s riches are never ending, his grace ever pursuing, his healing and comfort ever-present. Lots of tears of joy, longing, lament, compassion, etc. usually ensues. As you gather for the holiday around the table, or as you meet up with old friends, or as you stand in line at the coffee shop, lead the way dear brothers and sisters in practicing gratitude to God. Look for ways to let your joy spill out to others, and look to help others express their gratefulness to God for who he is and what he has done.
BTW, if you don’t know how to do a cross reference study, it is a really cool thing. I would love to help you get a study bible so you can do this! :) LMK.