Thanks, Church

by Mikel Berger

Sometimes I think about strange things. Like if the Apostle Paul were living today, would he have a blog? I think he might. So I’ll let the Apostle Paul open this blog post by quoting from the opening of ten of his letters to churches and church leaders.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:4 ESV)

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:11)

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy. (Philippians 1:3–4)

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. (Colossians 1:3)

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers. (1 Thessalonians 1:2)

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service. (1 Timothy 1:12)

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. (2 Timothy 1:3)

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers. (Philemon 4)

It’s not too hard to see the pattern. When writing to his fellow believers, one of the very first things Paul mentions is that he is thankful for them and is praying for them. Here are just a few things that make me thankful for you, church:

  • Prayers you’ve prayed on behalf of the elders and your entire church family. Some I’ve heard about and many, many more I’m sure I haven’t.
  • Willingness to serve in new and additional ways during a time of transition.
  • Patience and flexibility with changes that were often thrust upon you and not sought out.
  • Individual notes and comments of encouragement and thankfulness for something I’ve done or said that you’ve appreciated.
  • The challenging comments when something I’ve done hasn’t been helpful or was just plain wrong. But always shared in love, after much prayer, and with the intent of helping me improve for the benefit of the church body and God’s glory and not personal gain.

There’s so much more I could say. But sometimes, less is more. There will be more blog posts to write in the future, Lord willing. So for now, I’ll just say with Paul: I thank my God for you and continue to pray for you.