14 Yet it was kind of you to share[c] my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.[d] 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Thank You Notes
It’s mid-January and we haven’t sent the thank you notes for Christmas. The business of life seems to get in the way. I think I see that Daryl and Kelli have written them, but they are not sent. To show gratitude to God is important, and in the same manner we shouldn’t forget to thank people for all that they have done for us. It sometimes surprises me that children and youth can be resistant about giving thanks to anyone for anything. To be able to give thanks we have to show a kind of indebted attitude. We give honour to someone above ourselves. I think that some teenager lack that kind of humility. If gratitude is not cultivated in childhood, it is my opinion that you get entitled and ungrateful adults.
A foundational understanding that builds into gratitude is a right understanding of what we deserve. We build so much into confidence and self-esteem in our culture that we have children who think they are self-sufficient and independent in all circumstances. They also think that all they receive that is good, they deserve. This attitude has no thought for the cross. If we understand that on the cross Jesus receives what we deserve, we know that anything short of horrific crucifixion and alienation from God is grace. God’s grace is extended to all mankind since the days of Noah. The rainbow is a symbol of his forbearance. The cross is the symbol of mercy and grace, but very few people see the lives they live as grace and mercy. Christian children need to see their depravity and the law, but we give them grace and mercy with no foundation. They take it as entitlement. They do not see that they deserve the cross. They don’t need salvation and so they have no gratitude for it.
Many of us lose sight of gratitude. We either think we don’t deserve bad things to happen and they focus on the bad, or they think the good in their lives is the result of their own efforts. Paul knows that, even though the Philippians have sent him gifts, his gratitude is to God. He is grateful to God because he knows the ultimate source of all good things. Maybe we should send God more thank you notes in songs of praise. Maybe we should send God more thank you notes in composing a Psalm of thanksgiving.
My days are like Chicago snow
The sun rises and they melt away
You take the unremarkable and you use it
You redeem a man who condemns himself
You place the guilt and the shame far from me
My emotions are calmed and my grief is lifted
I deserve nothing and receive an inheritance
I should languish in darkness and you surround me with light
Your grace is like cold water refreshing my soul
Your mercy is like a key that unlocks my fetters
I will speak your truth where you give me opportunity
I will proclaim your justice and mercy to those who seek truth
- What has Paul received from the Philippians?
- To whom is he ultimately grateful?
- How does Paul’s thank you note teach the Philippians?
- How do people today lack gratitude?
- How can Christians in the 21st century develop gratitude?