“Gratitude is a way of life that is meant to saturate every part of our being.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 23, 2023
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:14-15, ESV
Gratitude is more than an emotion or posture that we turn on or off from time to time. It is a way of life that is meant to saturate every part of our being, forming and shaping us into people who receive life as a gift, and offer it back to God in praise. And while there are countless ways that we could explore this way of life and its application in real and concrete ways, today, with Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 4 on my mind, I’d like us to give thanks for the unspeakable gift of spiritual parents.
Just like earthly parents teach us by example to walk, talk, and behave in ways that lead to a rich and fulfilling life, spiritual parents invest in us by their own lived example of faithfulness to Christ. We may have a large number of people whom we admire and respect, and even teachers or preachers who inspire us in our faith through their written words, lectures, or homilies. This is good and right, and we should give thanks for these men and women. However, as Paul notes, “though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers.”
A spiritual father (or mother) knows you in real and intimate ways, walking with you through life’s ups and downs over the course of many years. It is a relationship that requires vulnerability and trust, for it invites ongoing guidance and direction. Do not make the mistake of conflating a spiritual parent with a “guide in Christ.” The musician who leads your favorite worship song may move your spirit, but (in most cases) they do not know you or journey alongside you in faith. The preacher you watch online may fill your heart and mind with rich truths, but they are unable to guide you into the specific application of these truths to your unique and unrepeatable life.
If you have experienced meaningful growth and formation into Christ’s likeness, it is almost certainly because you have known the blessing of spiritual parents who have loved you with the sacrificial, self-giving love of Christ. Today, with a heart of gratitude and joy, give thanks to the Lord for the immeasurable blessing that they are in your life, and consider what it looks like for you to share what you’ve learned from them with someone younger in the faith who needs to receive the gift that you’ve been given.
Father, thank you for the gift of spiritual parents, faithful men and women who love us and journey with us through life’s joys and sorrows. We speak blessing over them today, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Take time to reach out to your spiritual parent(s) today and express your appreciation for them and their investment in your life.
Elevation Worship: Grateful
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