Thanking the Lord is an always offering; there’s never a wrong time for it. It’s an all-season fruit from the life rooted in Christ.1 He has given us reasons to celebrate his kindness in all circumstances and every situation, even the unpleasant ones.2 We know thankfulness is important, but can we bring the Lord more than a thanks point?
How Paul unpacked thanks
Paul mentions some of the things he is thankful for in 1 Tim 1:12-14: I thank Christ Jesus for…..
- Strengthening me beyond my own abilities (who has given me strength)
- Seeing a new faithfulness in me (that he considered me trustworthy)
- Using me to serve his Glory (appointing me to his service)
- Showing me mercy (once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy)
- Lavishing grace on me (The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly)
- Increasing faith in me – (along with the faith and…)
- Awakening me to true love – (…love that are in Christ Jesus)
After touching on ways the Lord had shown him kindness, his grateful heart is bursting with a praise song (verse 17). But he holds back; there is something else he wants to do first. He circles back to one of his thanks points: MERCY. On that one, he wants to offer the Lord more than a thanks point.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (15-16)
Take a stroll
You stroll down Admiration Way and cross over Mercy Avenue. Its signpost name catches your attention and you whisper thanks to the Lord for his mercy to you. You walk on, passing a few more meaningful avenue names. Then, you double back. You turn into Mercy Avenue to explore beyond the avenue access. Now your thoughts are not only being shaped by the meaningful signpost, but by all that you are seeing in the avenue called Mercy.
That’s what Paul is doing. He mentions his gratitude points, and then returns for a better look at Mercy Avenue. As his view of mercy enlarges, so does his thanks. He sees how far the Lord had reached to rescue him, how immensely patient Christ had been, and how the merciful Saviour gives eternal life to the undeserving…including him, the worst of sinners.
What began as a thanks point became thanks unpacked.
Thanks points and conversation theme
We are told to thank the Lord in whatever you do (Col 3:15-17). Usually that happens by speaking or singing short burst of thanks (thanks points). Those brief responses to the signposts are good, but we don’t want to miss the view down some of the avenues they are pointing us to.
Each thanks point is a theme waiting to be unpacked. And unpacking thanks about something specific can be a wonderful conversation piece with the Lord, blended into our day’s activities.
- Offer some thanks points to the Lord. Celebrate some of the ways the Lord has shown you his kindness.
- Choose one of those points and unpack it to be more than a thanks point. Enjoy unhurried time in that avenue. Admire the ways that the Lord has shown, or spoken about that specific kindness to you, and give thanks.
- Aim for an overflow of that thanks as a conversation theme with the Lord throughout the day.
1 Col 2:6-7 2 Eph 5:20, 1 Thes 5:18 Box Image by kstudio on Freepik