When it came to Paul, he so often brought together Thanksgiving and Prayer.
It was foundational to his relationship with Christ, the Church, and the Gospel. It was of greatest importance.
Paul had a special relationship with the church at Phillipi. They were partners. Their lives intersected. They were so thankful for Paul bringing them the Gospel of Jesus that they were eager to support and share in the work of the ministry; not only when it was convenient, but when it was troubling and when it required sacrifice.
After Paul shares the ever-quoted passage in Phil. 4:13, I can do all things through him who strengthens me, he shares these words to the Church at Phillipi, starting in verse 14: 14Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.
In Phillipi, Paul found brothers and sisters who not only said “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” (James 2:16) but who backed up their words and their faith with love that led to action. There was fruit coming from their lives and Paul was a recipient of that.
As I listened to Pastor Tim share the Word of God this past Sunday, I couldn’t help but think about the fruit that came from him and his wife, Christen, that has directly impacted me. They are the real deal. They love the Lord and it carried over to me. God brought them into my story, and they modeled the love of Christ to me.
Last night in Alex Gibb’s testimony at our Thanksgiving service, I heard a similar story. Christ showing up, and putting skin on His proclamation of “I love you.” He does it through His people, which is why I believe all of us have experienced this in some way.
So I look back to Paul, who in Chapter 1 of the same book writes to his brothers and sisters in Phillipi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Phil 1:3-5
My encouragement is for us to do the same this week. To thank our God for bringing brothers and sisters into our lives that have reflected His goodness and glory to us. Who loved us when it was difficult. Who sacrificed of themselves and what they had to bless us, and who modeled real a relationship with the King of Kings.
So sit down and thank God for them by name, remembering specifically how God has used them in your life, and pray that God with continue His “good work” in and through their lives to the glory of His name. Amen.
Oh, and maybe write them a letter of your own (or a text 🙂)
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,
Student Ministries Director