We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. Paul to the Thessalonians, book 1, chapter 1, verses 2-8.
I am thankful for my church.
It is the place I have been fellowshipping and serving for the last 21 years. Like Paul, I have been practicing thanksgiving for the church for 21 years. God is at work in the church. He is cultivating faith, love and hope in Christ Jesus. The people are beloved of God and chosen by God. I have witnessed growth and the imitation of Christ repeatedly.
Are you thankful for your church? If not, I would recommend a change of attitude. Here are some reasons to be thankful for your church.
It is a place of faith. One of the primary graces of God to you and your brothers and sisters in Christ is the gift of faith. In the church we find people of faith and since faith results in faithfulness, trustworthiness, and loyalty you can find people who will be faithful to you, that you can trust. Everyone needs those kinds of relationships and they are to be found in the church.
It is a place of love. God is love. If we love God we will love one another. The church is a place of love. Everyone needs people to love them. The church is a safe place where love rules.
It is a place of hope. God is in the business of replacing despair with hope. No matter what the circumstances around us we can find hope in the worship and promise of the church. God is in charge. He works all things together for good, He will never leave or forsake us.
In over 50 years of belonging to the church I have found this to be true, and I am thankful for the church.
If you have a different experience, here is my advice: start being thankful for the church. Start small. Be consistent in thanksgiving and then look for people who need a dose of faith, hope or love and start giving it out to them. Instead of looking for others to love you, build up your faith and give you some hope, be the person who loves, offers a leg up to someone who needs a boost of faith, and find someone who is more desperate than you and inject some hope into their lives. I guarantee it will change your experience of the gathering on Sunday that we call church. If you become a reason for someone else to be thankful, you will start to like being a part of the church too.