Listen to what the apostle says: "we must thank God for you...."
Because Paul knew the importance and power of gratitude.
One of my favorite movies is "Sergeant York," starring Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan. In that movie I remember York saying, at least once, "I'm obleeged to 'ya." Another old-fashioned expression would be, "I'm beholden' to 'ya." It meant to be under a debt. Paul felt an obligation to express his appreciation to the Believers in Thessalonica. He could have said, in Alvin York fashion, "I'm obleeged to thank God for 'ya!"
All of our relationships would be greatly improved if we would simply learn to express gratitude for others. In my years as a minister I have found the lack of appreciation to be one of the major reasons for marital problems. But, as I said, EVERY relationship would be greatly benefited by expressions of gratitude--parent/child; employer/employee; pastor/congregation; civic leader/citizenry; teacher/student; etc.
There are three guidelines I would suggest:
- Give some thought to it. Who are you thankful for, and why? Think about it.
- Be specific about what you are thankful for. Don't just say: "You're the greatest!" Say, "You're the greatest listener! Thank you for listening to me."
- Repeat continuously. You cannot say, "Thank you" enough. Paul said, "We must always thank God for you."
Is there a relationship you wish to improve? Start today with words of gratitude.