Thank You for People!Paul's letters to the various congregations he nurtured show a deep appreciation for people. Some might argue that Paul was simply sticking to the literary conventions of letter writing and that showing appreciation was a good way to build rapport with his audience.
But I believe there is more to his thanksgiving than simple convention. If we look at his expressions of thanks, there is a depth, diversity and richness:
- He talks about a "clear conscience" as he talks about giving thanks for Timothy. (He's indicating his sincerity)
- He combines thanks and prayer (2Timothy, Colossians, Ephesians and Thessalonians)
- He talks about thankfulness as an ongoing attitude (He uses phrases like "constantly", "always", "every time" and "not stopped" to express gratitude as a state of mind.)
- In at least some instances Paul's thanksgiving is expressed in corporate prayer.
- Paul will often go on to explain the reasons for his gratitude. We see this in Romans, Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians and 2Timothy.
This reveals Paul as a person who sincerely had a heart for people. They weren't notches on his belt or statistics in his campaign. They were real people whom he carried in his heart, prayed for and valued. He longed to see God at work in their lives and saw what God was already doing.
Do we see people with the same level of love, prayer and gratitude as Paul does?
|I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.(2Tim.1:3) |
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.(Col.1:3)
I thank my God every time I remember you.(Phil.1:3)
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.(Eph.1:16)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.(Rom.1:8)
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.(1Cor.1:4)
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.(1Thes1:2)