Gather • Devotional #4: “Thankful”

“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God?” 1 Thessalonians 3:9

Pastor Chuck recently recommended The Pillar New Testament Commentary. It went on sale on Logos so I bought it. I am enjoying it. I was enlightened on how Gene L. Green translated 1 Thessalonians 3:9, “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”

Actually, this passage is a rhetorical question. With a rhetorical question, one is not expecting an answer. The question might not have an answer, or it might have an obvious answer. So, why would you ask a question and not expect an answer? A question can be so obvious that it is a statement.

Psalm 116:12 also asks the same kind of question, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” God has been so good to us, how can we ever repay Him. What do you buy or give the One who has “everything?”

However, what is Paul saying he is thankful for? He is thankful for the other believers. He is overjoyed with how other believers encouraged him and what they had accomplished together by the Lord.

Weekly Gatherings consist of singing, giving, and a message, but that is not all. Hebrews 10:25 mentions that part of Gatherings should be the act of “encouraging one another.”

This Sunday, look around the auditorium and realize how blessed you are by being able to freely meet and by those around you. Pause and pray for them. Thank God for them. Paul recognized and acknowledged the hand of God at work in the lives of his readers.

One of the biggest choices many of us make each day is whether we will focus on affliction or blessings. Do you think God placed the wrong people around you? That was a rhetorical question. Look around you and be thankful.

I challenge you to let others know your feelings. Say something like:

  • “I am thankful for you!”
  • “I appreciate you!”

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

Philippians 1:3

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