Thank God for You!
"We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring." (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)
“Thank God you’re here” was an Australian TV show featuring improvisational comedy. Each episode involved performers walking through a door into an unknown situation. As they entered they were greeted with the line, “Thank God you’re here!” They then had to improvise their way through an unknown scene (such as a burning building, an unexpected baby delivery, Robin Hood adventure, etc.).
“Thank God for you!” was one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite expressive phrases for particular groups of Christians. Here he uses it to praise and encourage the persecuted Christians at Thessalonica. His goal was to lift up the downtrodden, heal the brokenhearted and encourage faltering faith.
In this case, Paul provided ample evidence for such a strong display of gratitude. God’s people at Thessalonica possessed:
*An abundantly growing faith
*An increasing love for God and man
*A steadfast and enduring faith
This resulted in an optimistic grace at work in their lives.
The goal of any body of believers should be that they should grow in faith and love; and that such faith and love should continue despite any physical conditions. Could any concept be any more real and relevant today? Look at your physical conditions in culture and work:
*Pandemic illness (ongoing!)
*Pandemic restrictions (ongoing!!)
*Pandemic fear, anxiety and depression (ongoing!!!)
*Normal stress and anxiety (increasing!)
Old buzz words and catch phases like: “Life is hard, but God is good” just don’t seem to fit the tenor of the day! Then come Paul’s words: “I thank God for YOU!” And he tells us how to be that person! Possess a lasting faith and an enduring love…cultivated in and empowered by your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we have those two things going on in our lives, Paul assures us that we are living lives that are ‘worthy of the Kingdom of God’ (v.5) because with them we encourage, strengthen and help the people among whom we live and work.
I suggest to you that these qualities of optimistic grace translate into an amazing attitude and lifestyle!
*Being available when called upon for help
*Being competent to help with excellence
*Being capable to deal with unexpected need
*Being compassionate with empathic kindness
The optimistic grace in our Christian experience affects and uplifts you. Imagine being the kind of person a troubled and anxious person could contact for some kind of help, issue, or answer and being so encouraging and kindly helpful that you hear later: “I thank God for you!”
And the good word about you gets around! Paul stated, “We boast about you!” (v.4) You’re the one who gets noticed and appreciated by those you serve because of your love, faith, and capable compassion in Christ!
To paraphrase Paul: “So, my brothers and sisters, stand firm in the Lord Jesus who loves you, gives you grace, and renews your hope. In Him, you will encourage and strengthen those around you in your every good deed and good work! (2:15-16) Then people will begin to say of you: “’I thank God for YOU!’”
Rev. Bruce Cadle, Pastor of Trenton Church of the Nazarene in Trenton, MO
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 08/31/2020