"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
One of the most gratifying experiences in life, I believe, is to see Christ’s followers living as Christ’s followers. I often get glimpses of that when I visit a person who is sick and I see the many cards they have received, hear about a meal someone brought the night before, or learn that another church member will be bringing them to an appointment the next day. I get other glimpses when I see Christ’s followers teaching Sunday school, sharing their resources with people in need, leading Bible studies in prisons, serving meals to people who are homeless, or working toward justice and peace in our world. I could go on.
As Paul describes the way we should live and serve and be the church together, I feel both challenged and thankful. I’m challenged in realizing that living for Jesus is hard work. Perhaps the hardest instruction is to live peacefully together and to always strive to do good to others, even those with whom we deeply disagree.
It must be why Paul also calls us to constantly remember our rootedness in Christ. To rejoice and pray and be thankful continually isn’t about skipping through life with our head in the clouds. It’s about remembering, in all we do, the sacrificial love and grace we’ve been shown in Christ. Carrying gratitude around with us daily helps to shape our witness of Christ’s saving love to the world.