Summary: The love of Jesus growing in you as a Christian is becoming a harvest of praise for our Heavenly Father. A big Thanksgiving to God. Maybe you have people in your life who are demonstrating similar fruit of the spirit in their walk with Jesus.
I Thank God For You
Thanksgiving (Canada) 2016
Thanksgiving is pretty nearly as good as Christmas in my book. You get to visit with family and friends, share a huge dinner, catch up with who has had a new baby, who has a new job, who is engaged and all the personal information that gets glossed over in our hurried lifestyles.
For me it was always a challenge to make it to a family Thanksgiving because of my responsibilities as a Pastor. Sunday is not always an easy day for me to get away. Especially if there is a long distance to drive in order to get to the family gathering.
But when I do get to go to a family Thanksgiving, it’s like Christmas but better. There are no gifts to exchange it’s all about the people in your family and in your life.
St. Paul teaches us the value of giving thanks to God for the people in our lives. He did it time and time again. “I thank God for you” he says over and over again nearly ten times as he address people in different churches in different cities.
Yes it is great to thank God for the bounty of the earth and how He has blessed us with the fruit of the land. Even non-Christian societies have harvest festivals realizing the bounty that the earth produces. But I think rather than just thanking God for what has come out of the ground we should also thank God for all those he has placed on it. They are a part of the harvest as well, a harvest of souls, lives changed by the love of Jesus Christ.
Our God is about people. He seems to like them as we see more and more of them on the planet every day. It’s interesting that the first place God put people was in a garden. God made sure we were not alone and He even dropped by from time to time just to have a walk with us.
St. Paul realized the importance of being with people who love God.
Paul noticed that there were things in these people that were growing like the fruit of a harvest. He just could not stop himself from thanking God for the fruit in their lives.
When Paul visits the Romans he thanks God for their faith. Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
In the city of Corinth St. Paul thanks God because the grace of Jesus Christ is evident in them. 1 Corinthians 1:4
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.
When St. Paul writes his second letter to the same folks in Corinth he names, names. God would like us to remember people who demonstrate something exemplary. Using and mentioning their names is a good way to recognize the fruit of the spirit growing in them.
Maybe you have a son or a daughter or a niece or a nephew who has the fruit of the spirit growing in them. Encourage them, thank God for their growth and example, and let them know that the change in them is positive and noticeable. This will help to grow their faith even more.
16 Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you.
Maybe I should start naming names like St. Paul does as I look at all of you and see the fruit of the spirit growing in you. Many of you are excellent examples of ripe spiritual fruit. I know some of you would not want attention drawn to yourselves because you know that Jesus is the reason for the changes in you.
In the city of Ephesus St. Paul recognized the people there had a great love for all God’s people. Ephesians 1:15-16
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Their love for other Christians moved St. Paul to want to keep them in his prayers. What a wonderful thing to love ALL God’s people regardless of what church they attend. Just to be in love with the big family of God is a great thing.
Going to Thessalonica St. Paul addressed them this way…1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.