Thankfulness for Friends
Sermon by CH(CPT) Keith J. Andrews
All scripture marked ESV: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Philemon 4 reads;

4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, (Phm 4)

In the Army we know too well what friendship truly means.

It is said that when all is said and done, we at the Soldier level donít fight for any political cause we fight for our buddies to the left and the right.

So when we think of our friends, when we pray for them do we thank God for them?

We see in this passage that Paul is writing to his friend Philemon.

Philemon was an owner of a slave named Onesimus. He is referenced beginning in verse 10. Philemon and Onesimus became believers of Christ under Paulís preaching.

Philemon was converted first, then Paul runs into Onesimus in prison and this letter is a letter to reconcile the two together.

We see in these first verses of the letter that Paul was close to Philemon. They have mutual friends as seen in verse 23 and he looks forward to see him Philemon again as seen in verse 22. They are friend. Paul even uses the words brothers throughout the letter.

So on one hand, we have the friendship between Philemon and Paul.

On the other hand, we have the friendship of Onesimus and Paul. Paul is willing to go to bat for this escaped slave and thief. So, Paul writes to his friend Philemon to begin the process of reconciliation.

In this letter and in this passage specifically, Paul expresses his gratitude for Philemon.

This morning, I want us to look at our prayer life under the microscope of thanksgiving. And ask the question to you; are you bringing your friends before God and thanking God for them?

Is this a pattern in your life? Or are you so focused on yourself, that you donít have time to thank God for your friends. You will pray for them when they are sickóbut you donít take the time to thank God for them.

This reminds me of a sentence form Mathew.

Matthew 5:46

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Mt 5:46, ESV)

Even the unbelievers pray for their friends when they are sick. But, we are to be different. We are not to take the friends we have for granted. We are to thank the Lord for them.

So first of all I want you to ask the question;

1. Are you thankful for the people that God has placed in your path?

This is a hard pinpoint question that only you can answer. Are you even thankful for those friends that you have.

This week I scrolled through some websites that listed what people were thankful for:

Katherine, age 9 says ď I am thankful for my mom, friends, teacher because they help me. If you ask why well here how it goes my mom helps me do my homework. Next, my friends help me when I am hurt. Last, my teacher helps me learn about things. Thatís what I am thankful for. ď