Overflowing with Gratitude

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:6-7; CSB)

There are good and bad kinds of overflow.

One  warm summer day, I started filling the kiddie pool in the backyard, then walked inside and forgot all about it. That was one kind of overflow. Another time, on a May long weekend, I heard a cry of horror from the basement. Our sewer line had backed up. That was another kind of overflow.

Backyards and basements are one thing; the human heart is another. Jesus said, “the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart” (Matt. 12:34). Out of the mouth can flow good things or bad things; sewage or streams of living water; depending on what is in the heart.

In the verses quoted above, the Apostle Paul encourages the Colossian believers to be “overflowing with gratitude.” If anything is going to overflow, there must be a source. So then, what is the source of overflowing gratitude? It’s everything that Paul has mentioned just before: receiving Christ Jesus as Lord, walking in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith according to the teaching of Scripture.

Sometimes we assume that the way to overflow with gratitude is to try harder to be thankful. But that would be sort of like trying to pump water from a dry well. Instead, as Paul says, gratitude comes from having Jesus Christ as Lord, continuing to walk with him, and basing our lives on the truth of the good news that we have believed about him.

During this time of Thanksgiving, don’t just try to be more thankful. Instead, connect your heart once again to the never-ending flow of gospel grace. Remember how forgiven, approved, loved, blessed, and equipped you are in Jesus Christ! Sink your heart into that reality. Live your life based on that reality. Let your mouth speak from that reality. You may find, without even trying, that gratitude is bubbling up and overflowing all over the place.

Pastor Jonathan Kroeker