Apostle Paul, whose 14 epistles of the New Testament are, used to begin each of them giving thanks to God for the way He works in the lives and churches of the recipients of that specific epistle. He does the same thing in the Epistle to Colossians and he writes:
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:3–8)(NASB)
Here are some important truths that we can learn from this passage through which Paul gives thanks to God.
Always give thanks to God in prayers
Prayer is associated in each one’s mind with asking and almost in each prayer people ask for some things from God. The Word of God teaches us to be thankful firstly and every time we come to The Almighty One to do it with a full of gratitude attitude for all that He has done in our lives. Apostle Paul only gives thanks to God in this whole passage of six verses. Only then askings come and I will write an article about this too. What did you thank God for when you addressed to Him in prayers the last time?
Thanks show up the priorities
Each man who has common sense gives thanks and he fives thanks for the things that are real important in his life and he has received from God or from other people. Apostle Paul’s priorites are people and spiritual things from the lives of these people, that have eternal value. He gives thanks for Colossians’ faith in Jesus Christ, for their love for all saints, for their hope laid up for them in heavens, for the advance of the Gospel, for people that preach the Gospel, such as Epaphras in this case. How much gratitude do you have in your heart for God and for people? What things are values in your life and how is this manifested in your thanks and gratitude?
Give thanks for the the fruit of the progress of the Gospel
People that come to God, enter the covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ and whose lives are saved of the eternal punishment of the hell, are the fruit of the Gospel’s progress. This takes place only when the word of truth of the Gospel is spread powerfully. During the time of Paul Christians didn’t have the resources we have, but Paul said that the word of truth of the Gospel was in Colossae, was in the whole world, bearing fruit and increasing. The heart of the Apostle was full of gratitude for this great progress of the Gospel. Let us follow his example and be thankful to God for the progress of the Gospel. And something more… Let no one think that their local church, or their church holds monopoly over the Gospel or even over the Kingdom of God. It is true that there are many heresies today and Christians have to study and to know the Scriptures well, and not to become victims of these heresies. But it is also true the fact that the Gospel progresses to the whole world and it bears fruit increasingly and this happens through the ministry of other churches and denominations that are on the whole earth. True Christians will always appreciate, give thanks to God and will rejoice for the progress of the Gospel in the whole world.
Give thanks for the people through which the Gospel progresses
Apostle Paul mentions Epaphras in this gratitude to God, and he says that he is his beloved fellow bond-servant. It seems that Epaphras is the servant of the Gospel that planted the church from Colossae and he was also the one who taught the Gospel to this people. I remember how someone, being in a certain position in church was disparaging another servant that was working hardly to plant a church. It was not proper the way he was talking and it was not coping with a servant of God to talk this way. The progress of the Gospel is not a competition, but a common work that all of us do, and if we understand this, if we love people and understand God’s heart for people at least, then we will be full of gratitude towards anyone who works in the Gospel and we will give thanks to God for that man or woman.
Work for the progress of the Gospel and always give thanks to God for His great work of salvation for people through the Gospel.
Translated by Djugostran Felicia