Whether you imagine Iguazu Falls in South America, Victoria Falls in Zambia, Niagara Falls in New York, or the Laguna hot springs in the Philippines, each gives us a strong image of abounding water that can’t be stopped. Strong, smooth, steady, and striking in their beauty, the abounding flow cannot be held back and rushes over the edge.
Some synonyms for abounding: very plentiful, abundant, considerable, copious, ample, lavish, profuse, boundless, prolific, inexhaustible, generous, galore.
The Apostle Paul once wrote to new believers in a town called Colossae. He had never met them, but as with so many of his letters, he wanted to straighten out their understanding of Christ and then help them see how that would straighten out the way that they lived life. He told them to focus on the foundation:
“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
Inexhaustible thankfulness, he said, is an integral part of the very foundation of the Christian life. In one sentence, Paul used four metaphors! The rooting of a tree, the construction of a building, the settlement of a colony, and the overflow of a waterfall.
The word translated “abounding” from the Greek unfortunately has no English equivalent. It means “to super-abound, to be excessive, to go way beyond.”
We’re not talking about something mild, occasional, or comfortable here. Because of the gospel of Christ, we’ve been rescued, ransomed, redeemed, restored, adopted, declared righteous, vested with an inheritance, given a different road, a different Guide, a different purpose, and a different destination.
We need to literally bubble up and burst with thanksgiving, like the bottle of soda you dropped just before the party. The same word is used in 1 Corinthians 15:58 where we are told to always abound in the work of the Lord.
Abounding and You?
A person growing in Christ should be abounding in thanksgiving. This is a basic Christian-life skill. It’s fundamental. So what does that look like for me? Is this something that just happens naturally or do I need to consciously work on thinking thanks in order to abound in thanksgiving? Duty begins with discipline but can end up as a delight.
There can be no doubt that God desires us to be thankful. How about trying to just think of one thing today that you could express thankfulness for to someone?
Drop. Trickle. Flow. Gush!