And be thankful!
By Clint Schroeder
Isn't it wonderful that no matter how much we read and
study the Bible, we still make new 'discoveries!'
I recently made such a 'discovery' when reading Paul's
Rules for Holy Living in the third chapter of Colossians.
Paul writes that "as God's chosen people, holy and dearly
loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness humility, gentleness
and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may
have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you. And over all
these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect
A great guide, I thought, for the stewardship of our
But then Paul continues, "Let the peace of Christ rule in
your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. "And
Then later in the same chapter, Paul writes, "and whatever
you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him."
As God's chosen people -- in our homes, our church, our
workplace, our community -- we have countless opportunities to clothe
ourselves "with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
As we strive to practice those virtues we are coming to a deeper
understanding of the stewardship of our lives. And, as Paul adds, over all
these virtues we are to "put on love."
And be thankful!
Thankful that we have been baptized into Christ, thankful
that we have been given God's word, thankful that we have redemption
through Jesus Christ, and thankful for all the blessings we have received,
including material blessings.
And, if we are indeed thankful, then surely a
manifestation of that gratitude will be a generous sharing of the love and
blessings we have received from a gracious God. Paul reminds us that this
thankfulness is to be expressed in whatever we do, in word and deed --
another way of saying that we should put our "faith in action" always and
in all ways!
Paul also writes, in his letter to the congregation at
Colosse, "... as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude
in your hearts to God."
Can we sing with gratitude in our hearts to God without
also expressing that gratitude our of our wallets and purses? That, I am
the first to admit, is a tough question. It's tough because the answer
needs to be pleasing to us -- and to God!
For some, a pleasing answer is easy. For others, a
pleasing answer involves a real determination and courage. But then, as we
respond, in word and deed, we can offer, with joy and thanksgiving, what
God has first given us, our selves, our time and our possessions -- signs
of God's gracious love!
May you continue to find new "discoveries" in God's Word,
and may you, in "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Clint Schroeder wrote this for Faith in Action, of which he was editor.
© Copyright 1997, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay first appeared in the Spring 1997 issue of Faith
in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA
and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note:
Copyright 1997, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.