Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: Acknowledging the Divide | Part 3: “Great Is Diana!” | Part 4: Letting Hate Drive | Part 5: Pants on Fire | Part 6: Turning Toward the Light | Part 7: Breaking Down the Walls | Part 8: Beyond Tolerance | Part 9: Love | Part 10: Peace | Part 11: Encouragement
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Col 3.17).
It’s no accident that we come to the end of this relatively lengthy series two days after the US presidential election. Now, regardless of the election’s eventual outcome, it falls to us to decide how to respond to its results—to decide whether we’re going to live in peace with our so-recent political opponents, whether we’re the “winners” or the “losers.”
Paul concludes the passage we’ve been studying with a call to thankfulness, or gratitude. Everything we do, he says, should be done for Christ and in gratitude through him to the Father.
I’ve written on this idea before. And so has Paul. Have you noticed that three of his four admonitions in this paragraph include thanksgiving?
- We live out peace in connection with thankfulness (Col 3.15).
- We encourage one another with thankfulness (Col 3.16).
- We do all things with thankfulness (Col 3.17).
This is a pervasive concept in biblical thinking. God has been unimaginably good to us—so good, in fact, that literally everything evil about the world pales in comparison.
What do you have to be thankful for?
No matter who is president of the US, or which party controls the Senate or the House of Representatives or the Governor’s Mansion or the County Council or the Mayor’s Office,
- You’re living far better, in measurable ways, than 90% of the people in the history of the world.
- There’s plenty of air to breathe—even if you have difficulty breathing.
- Purified, drinkable water still falls from the sky—even if it falls at inopportune times.
- Food still grows right out of the dirt.
- The sun gives us light and warmth every day, without fail.
- There is beauty to be seen and heard and appreciated all around us—in birds, in flowers, in rocks, in waterfalls. Even in morning glories, the bane of my childhood weed-pulling experience.
- God is alive, and great, and good, and engaged in our world, and directing all things to a certain conclusion that is, he assures us, good (Ro 8.28).
- If you’re a believer, you are regenerate (doubly alive), and forgiven, and befriended, and cared for, and loved, and escorted to that good end.
- And you are endowed with a mission, a purpose to live, one that you are well equipped to carry out, one that will certainly succeed, and one that will eventuate in perfect relationships and perfect glory.
There’s not a government or official in all the history of all the universe who can negate or even endanger any of that, or who can compete with that for any of my confidence or my fear.
God is great. God is good.
Let us thank him.
And let us live out that gratitude with a confidence and joy and grace that makes even our “enemies”—who are, when all is said and done, our fellow images of God and the ordered objects of our grace—to be at peace with us (Pr 16.7).
Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash