Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.Philippians 1:3 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul can be a bit nostalgic at times. Oddly enough, however, he was nostalgic (remembering the good ol’ days) about people, not things. Sure, he had plenty to be nostalgic about: His former life as a rabbi-in-training. His high-society ranking. The respect that people showed to him as he walked down the street. The great apartment reserved for only the cream of the crop. He had a great life, or so he thought, until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.
When Paul met Jesus, he was in the middle of serving a warrant for the arrest of every Christian he could find in Damascus. He would bring them back in chains so that they could be executed. That is what his life had led to. He was now hunting people who disagreed with his theology and they deserved to die as a result. He hated people.
Then came that fateful day when the Heavens opened up and blinded Saul (that was his former name) to everything he had known. No longer would he be hunting Christians, he would be one of them. His life was turned upside down. In that moment, he lost his job, his apartment, his social status, his income, and all of his friends. In that moment, everything he had dreamed and worked for were taken away. And, here’s the crazy thing – he didn’t care.
When we meet Jesus, our former life doesn’t matter. Maybe we had everything we thought we could want, like Paul, or maybe our life was pretty horrible. Either way, when we meet Jesus, all of that changes. No, life doesn’t become perfect, but it is filled with peace, joy, hope, and love. We also come to realize what is truly important in life.
Paul grasped what was important: People. Our verse today was written by Paul to the members of the church in Philippi. He wrote, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” In other words, Paul realized that people, our loved ones, our friends, our church family, are a blessing for which we should give thanks. He went from hating them to loving them.
So, in this season of life, I want to echo what Paul said to my church family (and beyond). I give thanks for each one of you. You are a blessing, and you provide great joy to my life. May you and your family be blessed.
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