“For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God…”
For what thanks
Paul asks a rhetorical question. What adequate thanks can Paul offer to God for the blessing he received from Timothy’s report? He knows that all credit goes to the Lord. He feels totally incapable of giving thanks to God in a manner that would do justice to the way God worked in the lives of the Thessalonians.
can we render to God for you,
The word “render” has the idea of to give back as an equivalent, to requite, recompense. It has the idea of a complete return. Paul wants to give a complete return of thanks to God for the Thessalonian Christians. Paul owes God an obligation for bringing the Thessalonians into his life. How can we return God’s goodness to us? He was a man of gratitude to God.
“What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me?” (Psalm 116:12).
Paul knows that he played a role in the lives of the Thessalonians but he also knows that it was God who did the essential work.
for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God
True joy comes from true values. Paul was full of joy because of what God did in the lives of the Thessalonians.
The word “before” in the phrase “before our God” has the sense of Paul rejoicing in the presence of God. He is the source of all blessing. God did the doing so God gets the glory. Paul’s joy endures God’s penetrating eye. His joy stood in the presence of God. Paul’s joy is before God and his thanksgiving is to Him. God is the ultimate author of spiritual victories and joy. He is the One to whom gratitude is due.
God does the doing so God gets the glory.
Christian workers need to be careful that they do not view their ministries as their personal success. We must give God the glory for His work among our people. We need to get a perspective on our role in the scheme of eternal things. None of us can adequately thank God for how He uses us.