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Words of Affirmation

 

National Day of Thanksgiving

National Day of Thanksgiving

I’ve encounter an attitude amongst some Christians, who whilst they believe we should express our thankfulness to God, are hesitant to show any appreciation to their fellow Christians, lest they become puffed up with pride and the glory not be given to God. Unfortunately, this approach often results in active Christians feeling that their contributions go unnoticed which can lead to a sense of being undervalued, even used.
Thankfully, Paul did not make this same mistake as is evident in practically all his Epistles. Upon close inspection of Paul’s letters to the infant churches a pattern emerges. Paul typically concludes his letters by taking the time to thank, affirm, acknowledge, commend and promote particular people. The concluding chapter of Colossians is case in point. Not only does Paul encourage thankfulness to God (v.2) but he refers to Tychicus as a beloved brother, a faithful minister and a fellow servant in the Lord (v.7)and to Onesimus, a native to Colosse, as being a faithful and beloved brother (v. 9).

Paul also commends Mark, even though he had once deserted him (v.10, cf. Acts 15:36-41), and acknowledges his few fellow Jews who are among his co-workers for the Kingdom of God v.11). Paul then describes is great detail all the efforts which Epaphas, the one who first introduced the Gospel to the Colossians, puts in on behalf of the Church in Colosse, by saying, he is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis (v.12-13).

Paul doesn’t teach us to only be thankful to God, but to make sure that we do not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). Let us remember to encourage one another with words of affirmation as we serve our Lord together.     

Colossians 4:2-18

Further Instructions

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.3At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,4so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

5 Conduct yourselves wisely towards outsiders, making the most of the time.*6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

Final Greetings and Benediction

7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow-servant* in the Lord.8I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are* and that he may encourage your hearts;9he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

10 Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him.11And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant* of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills.13For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.15Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters* in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.16And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea.17And say to Archippus, ‘See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord.’

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.*

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