Text: Philippians 1:1-8
Theme: Paul was deeply thankful for the holy people in Philippi.
Key verses: “This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and deacons. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ…And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart…God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus” (v. 1-8).
What God said to me: Dwayne, who are you thankful for? I mean truly, deeply grateful to have in your life? Stop today and think about who those people are and why they are a particularly strong blessing in your life. Paul knew why he was thankful for the godly people at Philippi. They were his partners in sharing my Gospel. They encouraged him in prison, and they helped him defend the truth he lived and died for. Paul knew that I had started a “good work” within those people, and he was confident that I would complete the work I had started in them. He appreciated their commitment to keep growing and to keep supporting his ministry and the spreading of the Gospel. Note that the “work I started in them” wasn’t only a work inside each of the people in Philippi; it was a partnering work that spread beyond them through Paul and to many parts of the world. Dwayne, that’s how it always is with my people. The work I start in you is never meant to stay inside you. It is to be shared and spread to others around you. Think again of the people you are most grateful for today. What do they all have in common? Is it not this, that they all shared with you in some way the love and encouragement they have inside them? You are most grateful for those who have walked beside you and partnered with you and done life with you. Isn’t that true? Imagine if they had kept their love and help bottled up inside them and never shared it with you. Would they have still made your top 10 most-thankful-for list? Certainly your family members are on that list–whether they are very caring and sharing or not. But beyond immediate family, is it not true that those you are thankful for the most are the ones who have impacted you and helped you the most? Strive to be that kind of person to others around you. Never keep my love and Good News inside you. My light was meant to be shared, so that the good work I started in you can continue to and through many people’s lives until the day I return.
What I said to God: Wow Lord, I certainly didn’t expect to see this today in Your Word. Thank You so much for speaking to me through Your Scriptures, through this amazing letter from Paul to his friends at Philippi. Today at Thanksgiving and on every day of the year, please help me be deeply grateful for the blessing of friendship and partnership in the Gospel. And help me share with others and be true friends to others as others have been to me all my years.