‘‘First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.’ (v8) Romans 1:8–15
It was always something of a trial writing thank you letters after Christmas. My parents insisted. I was grateful for my presents but had little desire to sit down and put pen to paper. I only wanted to play with my gifts, with little appreciation for the love and sacrifice of those who’d supplied my presents. My enjoyment had been conceived by them long before I enjoyed the pleasure myself. Something I now understand as I seek to find presents for those I love.
It is all too easy to separate the gift from the giver. We can assume that the confidence we find in God, the encouragement we take from church gatherings, is something we can expect and assume is ours by right. Yet, much of our Christian experience is built upon the variety of contributions made by other Christians.
All too easily we become consumed with our own experience and fail to give thanks for what we owe to the investment of others in providing that moment of insight, reassurance or help. A consumer is defined as, ‘a person who buys goods or services for their own use’.
Our God encounters are freely given, yet often through the kind endeavours of others. Like Paul, let’s take time to give thanks for those, known and unknown, who continue to contribute to encouraging us in our faith.
RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Exod. 17:8–13; Lev. 19:9–18; Rom. 12:3–21; Phil. 2:1–11.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: Starting with prayer for those who have encouraged us, we might also think of dropping a card, even a small gift, into the hands of those we are truly grateful to.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, thank You that I am incapable of sustaining my Christian life on my own, but I am a beneficiary of the love and faithful service of so many fellow Christians. Amen.’
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