Anyone Thankful for You?

Posted on October 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” Colossians 1:3-6

Is anyone thankful for you? We would like to think that there are a few people who are glad that we were born on this earth and are thankful for what our life means to them. Surely our spouse, our children and our parents are thankful for us, though there may be those times of conflicts and strained relationships that would challenge that premise. Occasionally our boss or supervisor may express appreciation for a job well done, or someone at church or in our community say they are thankful for a service rendered.

Is there anyone who, when they come to mind, you thank God for them? It may be someone who led you to faith in Christ. It may be a teacher who believed in you and encouraged you. It may be someone who stood beside you in a time of trouble. In the first chapter of Colossians, the Apostle Paul outlines an interesting triad of reasons he thanks God for the believers at Colossae.

In an introduction reminiscent of his letter to the Philippians he thanks God for them and assures them of his constant prayers. Certainly there were supplications for their needs and doctrinal issues they were dealing with as evident throughout the epistle, but his intercession was characterized by thanksgiving and gratitude for them. The things that made Paul thankful was three characteristics that are often noted in scripture–faith, hope and love.

Aren’t you glad that you are saved? Aren’t you thankful to God for others He has saved as well? Paul traveled to the New Testament churches addressed in his letters, but he was always receiving letters and reports from them as well. Each time he heard of the faith of believers in Colossae he thanked God. Obviously, there were many who did not respond to the gospel and rejected the message when it was proclaimed. Paul thanked God that his readers believed when they heard it and understood the grace of God.

“We give thanks to God…praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints” (Col. 1:3-4).

He also prayed and thanked God for the love that they manifested toward one another and for all saints. Jesus taught that love fulfills all the law; it is all encompassing because it is self-giving and other-centered. That is not the self-centered nature of our flesh, and we are capable of true love for others when God, who is love, fills our heart with His presence. How refreshing it must have been to Paul to find a body of believers who truly reflected love one for another. That was something to be thankful for.

Finally, he thanked God for them because they were focused on the hope of an eternal inheritance–”…because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:5). They had assurance of their salvation and were living with eternity in view. Like the heroes of faith in the Hebrews 11, they recognized they were just pilgrims on earth; they were looking for “that city whose architect and builder was God” (Heb. 11:10). What a difference that must have made in the way they lived. They didn’t get distracted by desires for earthly comforts. They weren’t upset and shaken in their faith when things did not go their way. Their hope was firmly planted in something eternal.

But the main reason Paul was thankful for them was because the gospel was bearing fruit and increasing due to their witness, and this was happening all over the world. (The  gospel) which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you” (Col. 1:6). I’m thinking others would be praying for us with thankfulness if they saw our lives characterized by faith in Jesus Christ, love for others and an eternal hope that manifested itself in a faithful witness and bearing fruit.

4 Comments on “Anyone Thankful for You?”

  1. Betty Jo Hudson

    I have been thankful for you & Bobbye many times in my prayers. You have both helped me in my Christian walk as I have watched you live your faith. Thank you very much.

  2. Jerry Rankin

    Thanks, Betty Jo. We love you and praise God for your friendship and support over the years.

  3. Will Dawson

    Thanks for all the encouraging words to a young pilot… and for always remembering me via sending me your books. That was special to me and still is as I read your material and notes in my Bible from your two sermons. ha
    PS, My kids still refer to you guys as Uncle Jerry and Aunt Bobbye.

  4. Carra Kumpe

    I am so thankful for you and Bobbye. I have been so blessed to get to serve with and pray for some of the choicest servants of the Father. You are still on my prayer list…especially early Sunday mornings. Thank you for your influence on my life and the lives of my children.

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