Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A., Counseling
Here in the USA, when we think of November, memories of gathering together around the dining table to celebrate Thanksgiving often come to mind. For the most part, we cherish those moments when we set aside our differences and give thanks for all the ways that the Lord has blessed us. As I considered which world-changer to profile for this month, the Apostle Paul came to mind. While Paul is best known for his theology of salvation by grace, one vital outworking of his teaching is gratitude. Fifty-one times in his epistles, Paul gives thanks or exhorts the church to give thanks, such as in his second letter to the Corinthians:
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV
We give thanks to God for sending us his Son who died for us to bring forgiveness of sins and reconciliation. It is through this act of thanksgiving that we bring glory to God. For Paul, this teaching is not merely a platitude but a personal and heartfelt belief and way of life. As many of you know, Paul vehemently opposed followers of Jesus, persecuting as many as he could locate. But on the road to Damascus, Christ altered Paul’s life course and set him on a path guided by the Holy Spirit that would change the world as we know it. Through one man empowered by the Holy Spirit, the good news spread beyond Israel’s borders to Asia Minor, Greece, and the seat of world power, Rome. From there it would continue to expand to the farthest regions of civilization for generations to come. For this reason, the Apostle Paul, the farther of this message of thanksgiving, is a world-changer.