The words are familiar:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”
These awesome, inspiring words impact how we live our everyday lives. As a result of these words, as ask ourselves what Jesus would do. We stop before making decisions and consider first if it is right or wrong in the sight of God.
And we try to live in a way that pleases God.
What comes next, though?
The rest of the verse reads:
“giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
That’s not what we generally expect when we’ve done something well. After living in the image of Christ, sharing the gifts He’s given us, and even in the small things always choosing righteously, we would expect to receive thanks.
However, Scriptures tells us that as we do everything (Everything!) in the name of the Lord, we’re to give Him thanks. In our upside-down world, that sounds backwards:
-Thanks, Jesus, that I’m doing all this work and denying myself sinful desires to please you?
-Thank you Jesus that I’ve made my whole life about you and serving you?
-Thanks Jesus for encouraging me to sacrifice everything and give a ton up so that you can be glorified?
Indeed, these seemingly backwards “thanks” are correct. It seems crazy to give thanks for something that you do and that is a cost to you at times. However, giving thanks to God is actually what’s best for us. Praising Him is what we are made for.
Our joy is so closely connected to our gratitude because the two work together to bring life into perspective. Like the lens in our eyes, we use gratitude to bring all that we see into focus. For example, if we do all to the glory of God but do so with giving thanks to Him for that blessed opportunity, we see our glory-giving as way of building up our worth or of improving our own fortunes.
To do all to the glory of God and give thanks at the same time, we recognize that it is only by the grace of God that we get to do what we were designed to in the first place: glorify Him.
Too often we twist our glorifying God into a way of receiving glory for ourselves. Remember that the words we long to hear in eternity from the Lord (with our sinful right to self cast aside) are not "thanks for that" but "In you I am well-pleased."