“I thank my God every time I remember you.” —Phil. 1:3
My wife and I recently attended a celebration commemorating high school seniors. The students were asked to share something memorable about an influential mentor in their lives. Each student then took turns stating why they were thankful for the mentors they chose to honor, and the mentors were then allowed to come forward and receive a gift from the student.
Among the honorees were teachers, family friends, and parents. Even teenagers who were normally quiet and reserved presented eloquent and well-prepared words of gratefulness. They cited life lessons they had learned, times when this special adult in their lives stood by them during times of crisis, or moments when their mentor went above and beyond the normal scope of responsibility to provide extra encouragement and wisdom.
As I looked around the crowded auditorium, I noticed that most of us in the audience had tears in our eyes.
There was something about these expressions of thanksgiving that lit a spark in all of us.
Many of the attendees reflected that during the time students were expressing thanks, two things were happening. First, we celebrated the fact that there are kind and loving people in this world who invest their lives in helping others. Secondly, many of us were thinking of people in our own lives whom we could stand and thank for their sacrificial investment in us.
I also hope a third thing happened on that day and the days ahead: I hope that the expressions of thanks we heard spark us toward being the kind of people who invest our lives in others.
Paul writes of his gratefulness to the church in Philippi and expresses throughout the letter that his remembrance of them brings him great encouragement and joy.
During this season of reflection and thanksgiving as we approach Advent, may we give thanks to God for all of His blessings, including the gift of those He has placed in our lives.
May the remembrance of His goodness and of the kindness of others spur us toward God-glorifying good works!
Prayer for the Week:
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen. (from The Book of Common Prayer)
Charles W. Christian is the managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.