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I Thank God for You

When I was a pastor, I went to a lot of wedding receptions.

One of the nice moments at a wedding is when the best man or maid of honor, a parent or sibling, takes the microphone to speak some words of appreciation about the bride or groom. They share some cherished memories, reflect on the person’s endearing qualities, or speak with gratitude for their godly friendship.

The love and gratitude are palpable.

Hearing those heartfelt words, I sometimes wondered if we do this kind of thing enough. It shouldn’t require a glass of wine, an available microphone, and a sentimental evening for us to be thankful for other people.

And whenever I ask folks what they are thankful for, this is certainly a common theme: they are grateful for dear friends, for godly parents, devoted siblings, for a loving husband or wife.

This is fitting, for God gives us comfort and encouragement through the gift of other people. Scripture gives many examples of gratefully recognizing this blessing.

For instance, Paul regularly begins his letters with thanksgiving for God’s work. It is striking that his thanksgiving is never generic, but crafted according to how God is working among the believers in a particular place.

He expresses gratitude to God for the believers in Ephesus, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (1:15-16).

In their transformation the apostle sees a beautiful display of God’s powerful work. And for this grace he has not stopped thanking the Lord.

This kind of gratitude redirects our attention toward other people and refreshes our appreciation for them.

So take time to thank God for what He is busy doing in the people in your life. Thank Him for the godliness of your friends, the thoughtfulness of your spouse, the dedication of your church leaders, or your parents’ example of service.

It shouldn’t only be on the special occasions like weddings, birthdays, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day—or even funerals—that we momentarily appreciate how God is working in those around us, and how He is blessing us through them. Take notice today, and thank God today.

And while we’re at it, we should tell others that we thank God for them. In the words of Paul to the Philippians:

I thank God every time I remember you.

Think too, of your family in Christ, those fellow believers in your congregation. Donald Carson puts to us:

“For what have we thanked God recently? Have we gone over a list of members at our local church, say, or over a list of Christian workers, and quietly thanked God for signs of grace in their lives? Do we make it a matter of praise to God when we observe evidence in one another of growing conformity to Christ, exemplified in trust, reliability, love, and genuine spiritual stamina?[1]

Thank God for the gracious work that He is doing in the people whom He has brought into your life.

[1] D.A. Carson, Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014), 26.


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