Monday, November 14, 2011

Effectual Gratitude

That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Philemon 1:6

I read this and thought, "It can't be that simple." Sharing my faith has always been a point of concern for me. I want to live out Jesus in me, but I fear rejection. That's a pretty scary truth to admit to you, but the truth it is.

So this morning I read this verse in Philemon. You know Philemon, right? That little 25-verse book near the end of the New Testament is Paul's letter to a slave-owner. Paul encounters a run-away slave and leads the man to Jesus as his savior. Now, this runaway needs to make his life right and return to the owner from which he ran. Paul writes a letter to Philemon, the owner, to tell him that the slave is now a Christian.
But its verse 6 at which I paused this morning. Let me read it to you again: "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."

I read this verse this morning and quickly scanned through as many "good things" as I could in my mind.  The list is exhaustive.  Paul says that acknowledging every good thing in me from Jesus will make taking about my faith "effectual" or sound, strong, powerful, successful! Could it be that gratitude will lead others to Christ? Yes! If I acknowledge every good thing that's in me from Jesus, which is EVERYTHING, then people will see Jesus in me. Sharing Jesus with others can be as simple as showing gratitude to the one who gave you everything in a public way.

I have a friend, Rachel, who said once that she decided not to leave a place without sharing Jesus with someone. Even if she went to the grocery store, she wasn't going to leave unless she told someone about Jesus. But it was her definition of "telling someone about Jesus" that was interesting. She didn't think she had to full-on witness to a person everywhere she went. She just made sure to acknowledge God publicly every place she went. So, using that grocery store example, if Rachel ran into a neighbor and the neighbor told her about their new dining room table, Rachel would say, "Well, I think that's terrific that God would allow you to buy a brand new dining room table. Praise God for His provision." She acknowledged God everywhere she went, even if it was just through gratitude.  And, by her definition and apparently Paul's definition as well, she shared Jesus in her world.

Gratitude seems like such a simple thing. I mean, I have so much to be grateful for. Just being grateful seems like a too-easy way to share Jesus with others. But according to the book of Philemon, verse 6, acknowledging who gave me these many blessings could change lives.  Who knew?


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