New Here

New Here

New Here

Thankful for …

Jeff DeBoer - Lead Pastor

What are you thankful for? That’s a common question—perhaps even the most common question asked around Thanksgiving Day. It’s a good question. Go ahead and make a list. Be amazed at what God has given. Praise him for your home, your job, your community, your country, your stability, your safety . . . . Praise him like the Psalmist does.

But would you do one thing in addition. This year I’d like you to spend some additional time thinking about “who” you are thankful for. I make that request moved by 1 Corinthians 1:4 where Paul says, “I give thanks to my God for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”

Perhaps you find it easy to be thankful for certain people in your life. You might be thankful for a close friend who always takes your call. Or you might be thankful for a spouse who really understands and supports you. Makes sense.

But Paul is not specifically thankful in this verse for people like your friend or your spouse. He is writing people who were followers of Christ, but struggled with a divisive spirit, tolerated sexual immorality, and were willing to relying on the civil authorities to solve their disputes. None of those were good. I can imagine Paul was rightfully frustrated at times with their immaturity.

But he does not start with their immaturity. He starts with their identity: they belong to Jesus and he has given them his grace. And that means, according to the following verses, “that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge . . . so that you are not lacking in any gift.” Paul views the Corinthians with gospel confidence.

Are you able to see others with that same confidence? It is not a question about whether you can trust them. Rather it is a question about whether you can trust God. Are you willing to view other followers of Jesus—even in their substantial weaknesses—in the way that our God views them? Or even better, are you willing to view them the way God views you: weak, needing help, often aimless and struggling with sin . . . yet those in whom God is doing a mighty work? Are you willing to trust God to use his grace powerfully?

 I am convinced after twenty two years of ministry and almost fifty years of life that what marks a healthy church from an unhealthy church is how confident we are in the grace of God to work. That confidence transforms the way we view ourselves. But it is most clearly seen in the way we see and treat each other.

 So this year, in addition to making a list of what you are thankful for, make another list—a list of the people you are thankful for. Not because they are perfect or they always make your life easy. But because you can see the grace of God working in them.