Colossians 1:3-5 “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints–the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven…”
One great obstacle stands between me and a more thankful heart: Discontent, dissatisfaction with what I have, who I am, and what I can do.
No matter where we are in life, we don’t have, we can’t do, everything we would like. Our discontent makes it hard to be filled with a sense of thankfulness.
The solution is to look for our contentment someplace else, like Paul does here: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints.” There is one great place to find the contentment that makes us thankful people. That is in the faith and love that come from God.
The faith and love that make us thankful people have a source: “…the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel…” Oh. I guess hope stored up in heaven sounds like good news…someday. Maybe we feel a little like the boy who was hoping for some great new toy or gadget from his favorite uncle on his birthday. Instead he gets a savings bond that doesn’t mature for five years. Whoopee.
But wait. God’s good news is far superior to the good news people think they want. It is something to be excited about right now. What if Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead, and forgave all our sins so that we could win the lottery? What if God’s Son left heaven, became a man, and surrendered himself to be executed by his enemies so that we could have fun, fun, fun? Now do we have a reason to be thankful? Now do we have good news we can be happy to believe?
What is going to happen to all those things? When I was a little boy, I had a large collection of Tonka Toys. Do you remember Tonka Toys– steel trucks, bulldozers, and cranes that were almost indestructible? I had my own miniature construction company in the sandbox. Then a neighbor friend discovered that if the rocks you drop on them are big enough, they really will bend and break. My collection ended up a pile of twisted metal. It was a sad loss, but a good lesson for life: Even the strongest and most certain things don’t last forever.
Except God’s gifts in the gospel. Because heaven is a gift of God’s love, the result of Jesus’ work not our own, it is stored up for us. It is being kept and prepared for us where no one can destroy it or take it away. It is certain.
When you have a good day now, when you have a string of successes, you sometimes wonder how long it’s going to last.Today I feel good, but the migraines will return. Today sales are up, but another slow period is inevitable. Today my manager is in a good mood, but tomorrow, or next week, he will be back to his cranky self.
But in heaven, our very last bad day will be behind us. Every tomorrow will only be better and brighter. Faith feeds on a promise like that. It grows from such a gospel. And where there is faith, love can’t be far away. Now there is something to thank God for.