Yet, Paul’s main point in writing this letter is to communicate to this little house church the victory Christ achieved over the powers of darkness (1:13). His opening words focus on being able to give thanks to God for this victory (1:12). Indeed, we can find a wonderful summation of the whole letter with these words a couple chapters later when Paul writes, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
Note that point: whatever you do…give thanks. Whatever mission project you are involved in, whatever small group you are participating in, whatever work you are doing, whatever gift you are going to give, whatever job you are planning to do…give thanks.
Remember that Paul is writing these words as a prisoner, frustrated, I am sure, yet thanking God for who the Colossians are and what they are doing. Indeed, Paul prays that the Colossians will continue to be filled with the “knowledge of God’s will”; and that they will “continue to lead lives worthy of the Lord”; that they will continue to “bear fruit in every good work” (1:9-10). Why? Because it is all about giving thanks.
But let us note how Paul does not long for the “good old days.” He is not fixated on the past. He does not ruminate on what happened last week or last month or last year. Instead, he looks to the future, praying that the Colossians will be equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead.
How may we learn from Paul about praying and giving thanks under difficult circumstances? How might we get to the point of how to thank God in whatever we do, remembering that we are always living into God’s future?
Pastor Andy Kinsey