A Nugget from New Life Network
(by Lauren Musgrove Lewis of Future Now)
Scripture for the Day – August 8, 2019
I Thessalonians 1:2: We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.
In our opening scripture, Paul writes to the Thessalonians to tell how he gives thanks always to God for them. Paul is thanking God always for people, specifically in this letter to the believers in Thessalonica. Paul also opens many of his other epistles with the same acknowledgement of his giving thanks to God for Timothy, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon. Realizing that the Bible teaches that all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16), I didn’t want to just write this phrase off as “Paul’s salutation”. What was Paul actually saying in his opening lines to the Thessalonians?
A quick word study using Strong’s Concordance revealed that Paul was literally always recalling to mind and orally expressing gratitude towards God for the good favor, spiritual blessing, or gifts that people had brought into his life. I had to ask myself, “When was the last time I thanked God for the ‘people’ he had placed in my life?” Oh sure, I daily thank God for my spouse, my children, siblings, parents, etc. These individuals and relationships are like my possessions, my identity if you will. While it is good and right to thank God for our family and friends, I think what Paul was remembering before God in these salutations were the many people of God who had been or brought spiritual blessings into his life. Those who, because of their faith in God, had brought encouragement, hope, love, or sown seed of truth into Paul’s life.
This new line of thinking challenged me. I realized that my life in God and current relationship with Him is the sum total of countless hours of investment by many, many people. Some I can recall and list and some I may never even know.
The word “mention” in this passage means a recollection, a recital, to remind or call to mind. So I endeavored to recollect and list those who have influenced my life with the gospel and faith in Jesus Christ. My list included:
• My parents who raised me in church • A brother who invited me to a service that literally changed my life • Pastors I have had over the years • Youth pastors, parents, and helpers • Their spouses who gave up precious family time so their spouse could do the work of ministry • Fellow believers who encouraged me as I grew in the things of God • Teachers in Bible school, Sunday school, Prayer groups, etc. • Ministries that I have followed by reading their books or listening to their teachings • Unnamed masses who support ministries financially that make truth available when we needed it.
I began to realize that all these people could have been doing just about anything else with their lives, time, and finances, but in obedience to God they were sowing the Word of God into my life that I might grow thereby as we see in Ephesians 4:8-13.
My list began to grow as I thought back over the years of my life since finding Christ. The growing sea of faces and awareness of so many people, some I may never know, that have contributed to establish ministries, churches, and schools that were instrumental in blessing my life tremendously by the Word of God was truly humbling and creating in my heart gratitude and thanksgiving toward God.
God has an army of people that He leads and guides to be a gift of favor and blessing in our lives. Paul was a man that had cultivated a grateful heart towards God for those people in his life. Let’s do the same!
I challenge you to start a list of the people that have influenced your life for Christ and call their names out in thanksgiving to God. You’ll be surprised at the vast numbers of people, time, and resources that God has called upon to bring you good favor, spiritual gifts, and blessings.