“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
Before my wife and I had a baby, people told us that parenting would be exhausting, and we believed them to a certain extent. But when the baby actually came, the word exhausting got a whole new meaning. Our daughter is four months old now, and we are learning how much work parenting takes. She needs our help with absolutely everything: eating, burping, dressing, diaper changes, bathing, calming down, and even falling asleep. It’s a 24/7 job, and to top it all off, its basically a thankless one, too.
Except for the heart-melting smiles. The little squeals and giggles. Seeing our little one enjoy her life is all the thanks we need. When she’s happy, it makes us happy, too. Our relationship with her reminds me of how we relate to God. We are completely helpless and dependent on him, and he perfectly supplies everything we need. Sometimes we are filled with joy when God gives us good gifts, but often we are still discontent.
Ever since I studied Colossians 4:2 a couple weeks ago, the words “with thanksgiving” have been stuck in my head. I am so often discontent. In a sense, discontentment is a good thing because we are not yet home and things are not yet as they should be. However, I am realizing that much of my discontentment stems from forgetting we serve a real God who has done great things for us and is providing for our every need. As I have applied the simple command to be thankful to my life and prayers, I have been blown away by how kind God is toward us, and it has made me a lot happier.
Our church is preaching through Colossians. One of our pastors reminded us that God has given us the greatest gift, his Son. In Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins and new life. That is where our thankfulness should start. Everything else from God is a gracious gift but not guaranteed. The life we have in Jesus is sure and constant no matter our life circumstances.
That is especially true being on staff with a college ministry. There is no guarantee of how things will go. It can be easy to be discontent when things don’t go the way you hope, but as I have applied thankfulness to my reflections on the last year, I was brought back to Jesus, and I saw God’s graciousness to us. This year 8 St. Thomas students were baptized! It filled me with joy to remember their stories about how God gave them new life. St Thomas also has a small group of students on our Summer Training Project. I am so thankful for them and eager to see what God will do in their lives this summer. I am also thankful that a new staff girl, Lindsay Oawster, will be joining our team! I’m looking forward to seeing what God will do through her at St. Thomas.
I am not sure what circumstances are finding you, but like a good parent, God is kind and graciously providing for us. Sadly, we can miss it and enter a life of discontentment. The simple command to include thanksgiving has shaken the discontentment and has helped me see God’s kindness in deeper way.
Campus Outreach Minneapolis
St. Thomas Staff