Hi everyone and welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast here at STC.
This week we are asking ‘Is it possible to change?’ On Monday we saw clearly the answer is yes – Jesus Christ is THE change agent in our lives and in our society. Yesterday, we reflected on the truth that all change starts with me, but doesn’t end with me, as we asked the question ‘Will you receive Christ this day?’ Today, the fruit of Godly change is thankfulness. Our reading is Col 2:1-7 and our focus verse is v7b ‘rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. …’
We sometimes overcomplicate the Christian faith. We give the impression that there are lots of add-ons to being a Christian – certain extra things you need to understand or do. In today’s reading Paul challenges this kind of false teaching completely. He keeps reminding his readers then, and us today, that all you need is Jesus. It is not a matter of adding anything else to Jesus, but rather of putting into practice what you already have received from him: ‘My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught’ (vv.6–7a, MSG).
Then comes this wonderful phrase in v7b overflowing with thankfulness. … or as the Message says, let your living spill over into thanksgiving. Two words here to reflect upon; firstly, thanksgiving – gratitude to God for his unmerited love in our lives. It’s called ‘grace’ and it’s what James spoke about in last week’s Podcast.
This letter was written in Greek and the word used here is ‘eucharist’ – thank you God for Jesus and his love for us. That’s what we do when we take bread and wine in church, we remember Jesus and say a big thank you to him as we offer our worship and praise. Sadly, communion services in some churches are more like a funeral dirge than a celebration. I love the Eucharist at STC – thanksgiving just oozes from this celebration gathering!
The second word is ‘overflow’ – the word here means ‘above and beyond the normal’ or ‘exceeding the ordinary’. Paul says that as Christians we are to spill over with thanksgiving – I just love that! How do you know when a glass is really full of water? When it overflows and the table gets soaked! How do you know when a Christian is full of thank yous? When the people around them get soaked in God’s goodness, kindness and generosity! It’s so good to be around people like that – thankfulness is contagious: once you start, it affects other people.
Is it possible to change? Yes, it is with Jesus. How do I know I’ve changed? Here’s the test – the fruit of Godly change is thankfulness. After nearly forty years of following Jesus I’m still learning this great truth; to constantly give thanks every day for all he has given me in my life: my wife, my family, my home, friends, work, the list goes on … and then to get out of the way and through these thanksgivings let Jesus drench those around me with his love. I know it sounds crazy but it actually works! Let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Lord Jesus, thank you that my life is safe with you – rooted and grounded in your love. Thank you for giving my life meaning and purpose. Thank you for all the many blessings in my life. Thank you. Help me to live a life of thanksgiving and overflow with you this day and every day. Amen.
READING: COLOSSIANS 2:1-7
I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.