First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. – Romans 1:8-10
I’ve always been a little uncomfortable when people say, “Nice sermon, pastor!” In the same way, it’s always made me a little uneasy when applause is given in response to a Christian’s acts of Christian service.
In fact, it is my joyous responsibility to proclaim the grace of God to the best of my God-given abilities on any given week. Likewise, we always have the happy privilege of letting the light of Christ shine through us into the world. Just as trees are planted to produce fruit, and the sun was created to give light during the day, so the love of Christ compels us to live for Christ.
When people take notice of your deeds of faith, when you notice the Spirit at work in the lives of others, whom do you thank? It’s not wrong to thank people, but don’t forget the words of Paul that are quoted above.
Paul thanked his God. That ought to be our first response, too. Thank God that there are people who let the light of Christ shine. Thank God for giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.
Is it wrong to thank others for their acts of faith? No. But it may give the wrong impression. It may lead to selfish pride. We are better served, and more importantly, God is better served, when he is thanked.
Thank God, for it is God who called us to be holy. God is the one who poured his love into our hearts. God gave us faith in Jesus our Savior, faith from which that love flows.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for shining the light of the glory of Christ into my heart of darkness. Lead me always, by the message of Christ, to live a life of thanks and praise to you. Amen.