Last week we were reflecting on the thought that the Lord is inviting us to overflow with thankfulness and gratitude (Colossians 2:7) and we considered how this may take the form of a bubbling spring welling up, or perhaps a quieter strong flow of a deep river. This week, more treasures have emerged on thanksgiving from chapter three of Colossians.
It may feel that I am pushing the illustration too far, but you could say that a gushing spring or fountain, and a deep strongly flowing river are both mainly two dimensional – they have depth and height, and forward movement and are a wonderful picture of the flow of overflowing thanksgiving.
However in Colossians 3:17 the Holy Spirit inspires Paul to expand our vision of thanksgiving again: “Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”. So there we have it, ‘whatever you do’ – whether its something you do or something you say, – it seems like the Holy Spirit is inviting us to be thankful in everything we are doing and everything we are saying. That doesn’t leave much room for exceptions – even changing the baby’s nappy, and phoning school about your child is included! So the heart of God for our lives expands again – a totally 3D experience of thankfulness, not only with depth and flow, but also the breadth of everything I do and say in my daily life. Nothing is too trivial, nothing too embarrassing, too human, too secular, too natural, too lame, too normal, too everyday, to not do or say with gratitude and thanksgiving.
And here’s the second link to what Stella has been reflecting on with us over the last couple of weeks. This helps us to unlock something even more precious from this passage. “Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” Particularly “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”. We have been seeing that praying in the name of the Lord Jesus, when we understand what that really means, is a very powerful part of our prayers (see blogs 180 and, 181). Particularly when we are asking for something we need, when we are in a difficult or challenging situation, or in a spiritual battle.
So there is a breadth of 3D thanksgiving in whatever we do or say, from the trivial, the daily routine, to today’s big challenge. And it is linked to a breadth of understanding and vision that we don’t just pray in Jesus name for healing, for financial need, for family stresses, for help at work, or for spiritual battles – big stuff- we bring Jesus name, and that means who Jesus is, (as we learnt in blogs 180 and 181) into everything we do and say, including the little things, the routine, the mundane, all the things that demand our attention day by day.
So here’s the thing, the Holy Spirit is on hand to enable use to overflow in thanksgiving in all areas of life, big and small, all our saying and doing, BECAUSE God’s desire and intention and grace towards us is that we can do all these thing in the name of the Lord Jesus, drawing on who He specifically is to us and for us in that activity. And that is so, whether it’s big or small, spiritual or natural, routine or unexpected, mundane or exciting, has obvious fruit or nothing obvious changes.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us just how involved the Lord is in all parts of our everyday life and conversations, how much everything can be done in Jesus name and relying on His character, and 3D broad gratitude and thankfulness can well up and overflow. Or could it be the other way round? Chicken or egg? As we overflow in thanksgiving broadly in every little/big thing we do and say in life daily, could it be that we will find to our joy and amazement that the Lord Jesus is involved with us in it all, in everything. No more “I couldn’t bother you with that Lord” but rather a joyful, thankful engaging with Him in all I do!