Last Updated 11.17.2008
For 11/30 Our Center of Thankful Joy (3:15-4:1; cf. 1:21-23, 25)
Paul begins the letter with thanks and this theme runs to the letter like a rich vein of gold through a gravel bank:
Col. 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you …
Col. 1:12 … and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his people in the kingdom of light.
Col. 2:7 … rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Col. 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Col. 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Paul wants to make sure that the Colossians define their new life in Jesus with thankfulness. He gives thanks for the new standing in Christ. They are to life with joyful thanks about their inclusion as heirs in God’s people of light. They are to overflow with thankfulness for what Jesus did and is doing for them. Their lives are to be lived to honor Jesus all the while giving thanks to God the Father for them.
And the reason for their thankful joy?
The center of this reason for joyful thanks?
Jesus and the purpose and meaning for life He has given to us — we truly live out on hope’s horizon!
But thanksgiving makes our salvation real again in almost any circumstance. A great way for our Time in the Word to possibly start is to dramatically tell the story of Paul and Silas receiving the Macedonian call and then find themselves in prison, locked up and abused, yet they are praying and singing hymns to God and give birth to the church and the letter that helps us see our reason for thankful joy! Another possibility is to look at the current trying circumstances we face economically and the hurt and heartbreaks we sometimes face here. How can we rejoice? How can we have hope? Center that joy in Jesus.
I would love our worship leaders to quote the following before a praise set of songs:Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again:
Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
While old, a good standard song might be helpful: “Count Your Many Blessings”
The whole key to this message, really the whole key to the letter of Colossians is Colossians 3:17 , “whatever you do in word or deed” or as The Message puts it, “Let every detail of your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God every step of the way.”
Why do you think Paul emphasizes thankfulness so much to these new believers in Colossae?
Why is thankfulness important to us as a focus for our lives?
What are things that make it hard for us to be thankful in our culture?
Do you think the negativity in the news, magazines, and ads make it harder to be thankful?
What is the basis for our thankfulness?
How can I learn to be thankful (It is a command after all!) even though my life doesn’t appear to be blessed right now?
Why is thankfulness so important as a necessary part of our daily prayer life?
Listen to prayers this week and see if you can get a feel for emphasis on the following areas and give percentages: praise, request, complaint, thanksgiving, and confession
What are things you have to be thankful for that have nothing to do with physical blessings?
Do you think others would classify you as a thankful person? Why or why not?