“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2)
We all have much to be thankful for. It is certainly appropriate to give audible thanks for our daily bread, whether in private, at a family meal, or in public at a fine restaurant. In fact, Jesus set the example. When He miraculously fed the multitude beside the Sea of Galilee, He began with a prayer of thanksgiving: “He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks [and] broke them. . . . So they all ate and were filled” (Matthew 15:36-37).
It is good to give thanks for our food and shelter and clothing, but the blessing of having Christian friends is even more thankworthy. The first letter to the Thessalonians was possibly Paul’s first Spirit-inspired letter to Christian friends, and Paul began with a testimony of thankfulness to God for them (see the text above).
When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he began similarly: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3), and to the Colossians he started the same way: “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Colossians 1:3). The same when he wrote his epistle to the church at Corinth: “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4).
Even when writing to the Christians at Rome, whom he had not yet met personally, he wrote, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all” (Romans 1:8). He also thanked God for his personal friends Timothy (2 Timothy 1:3) and Philemon (Philemon 1:4).
Throughout our Christian life journey, we develop lasting Christian friends and can thank God for all of them. What a blessing to have such friends, and how fitting it is to give God special thanks for them at this time.