We focus a lot on gratefulness on this day, and rightly so. We have been blessed with so much in this life, and have been promised so much more in the next if we are faithful.
Paul was thankful, not only for the church at Rome, but for their faithfulness. Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” How exactly was their faith made known? It was through their “obedience leading to righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18; 16:19).
He was also thankful for the congregations in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:4), Ephesus (Ephesians 1:6); Philippi (Philippians 1:3), Colosse (Colossians 1:3), and Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 1:2). Again, note that the thanks is based upon their actions through faith: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
Paul commands us to be thankful. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17; cf. Ephesians 5:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15). Should we need such a command? Perhaps we shouldn’t, but we are weak and forgetful people, so it serves as a good reminder that we should frequently count our blessings.
The greatest blessing, of course, is the sacrifice of Christ. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). May we never forget His love for us!