Jump Start # 1981
Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s a time for family, food, and good memories. We have so much to be thankful for. The list ought to be long. Our verse today reminds us of three important aspects of our thankfulness.
First, remember the people in your life. No one is an island to himself, the old poet wrote long ago. We all stand upon the shoulders of others. There has been many who opened doors to us, mentored us, gave us our first chance, believed in us and stood right along side of us. Through the years, hard work, experience, knowledge has allowed us to develop even further, but all through our lives there has been people who stood in the shadows of our lives that were there for us. Parents. Grandparents. Friends. Brethren.
Some had college paid for by parents. Some got their first job because of someone in the family. Doors were opened for us and things happened that allowed us to become who we are. It is amazing to think about all the people in our lives.
Now, turn this to the spiritual side of things. The same remains true. There has been countless people on the sidelines cheering us on as we walk with the Lord. There was the first ones who introduced the Gospel to us and taught us. There was those first churches that allowed us to lead our first song, or say our first public prayer. There were those churches that allowed us to preach when we weren’t very good. There were those godly people in our lives who we asked questions. They were there when our world seemed to be falling apart. We sat in hospital waiting rooms and looked up and here they walked in. They were there when we were hitting bottom emotionally and spiritually. Some of us would not be where we are today, had it not been for them. Some of us thought about throwing in the towel spiritually, but someone was there who guided us back and helped us to have a safe landing.
Paul is remembering the Philippians. He had taught them and they had supported him. They came through when others didn’t. Paul remembered. Have you? Have you remembered those who helped you? I talked recently to the preacher who baptized me more than forty years ago. He’s still preaching. He is going to send me one of his old sermons. I plan to frame it. He touched my life a long time ago and I don’t ever want to forget.
Second, Paul was not just walking down memory lane here. His remembrance of the Philippians led him to pray to God. He was thankful to God for those people in his life. It may well have been orchestrated by God that these lives intersected. The same may be true of us. Godly people with kind hearts took the time to help us get molded by the Lord. They taught us, shared with us and helped us. Have we thanked the Lord for those people? Have we said their names to Heaven? Paul thanked God for the Philippians.
Thirdly, Paul told the Philippians. That’s how we know about all of this. We read this in his letter to the Philippians. Being thankful needs to be shared. It needs to be shared with God and to the very people that we are thankful for. He told them. Now, this may seem a bit awkward, and some certainly wouldn’t want any praise or attention, that’s just the way they are, but it is encouraging and helpful to show your appreciation to those who have helped you.
Have you thanked elders who took the time to walk you through a problem? They willing gave up an evening or more for you and they would do it all over again if necessary, but hearing words of appreciation from you makes their day.
Have you thanked your preacher for the fine lessons he has preached? He’s poured hours into thinking, studying, writing and crafting that sermon. He wanted it to be perfect and he knows it wasn’t. But something he said, a passage that was explained, a principle that you forgot about, an application that challenged you, changed you, helped you, and strengthened you. Did you share that with him? The preachers I know would simply say that they were doing their jobs. And they were, but what a fine job they were doing. But it’s good to let them know.
Have you thanked your parents for taking you to worship and introducing God to you? Many of us avoided the mistakes and sins that nearly destroyed our friends, all because we grew up with rules, guidelines, expectations and accountability. We may have hated it at the time, but we look back and now realize those very things kept up safe. While our classmates were out late smoking dope, we had to be home. We were safe because of that. We learned to respect authority and obey the rules. We were taught manners and were expected to show them. We had to do things around the house, which taught us about community, service and one another. Our parents poured their lives into our lives. And here we stand today, all grown up, responsible, raising our own families and we look back and think without our parents what a train wreck we would have been. Have you thanked God for your parents? Have you told them thank you?
Fourth, and what is amazing in all of this, if we have developed and become the people of God that we ought to be, as we are remembering and thanking, there is someone out there who is doing that very thing to us. They are remembering something we said or did that touched their lives. They remember the time we devoted to helping them. They remember the gift we gave. They remember the big guy taking the time for the little guy. Years have past and we may have forgotten what was done, but out there is someone who will never forget. They remember. They thank the Lord for you. They may even reach out and tell you.
This is how all of this ought to be. We have been helped and now we are there to help others. We endured storms because of what others did for us and now we are there during the stormy nights for others. We know what it’s like. We know what helps.
Lives touching lives. It’s a fellowship. It’s a love for one another. It’s only doing what the Lord first did. It’s Christianity!
Remember. Thank the Lord. Tell the person.
So simple, yet so important!