(This is a reworking of a sermon I had written a few years ago. This sermon is designed to preach after Thanksgiving.)
Always Giving Thanks – Even After Thanksgiving
This past week we celebrated in this country – “Thanksgiving”. [Dates can be adjusted to fit the occasion. Example: Two months ago…] For most of us it was a – time of turkey – feasting and football. Across our country parades were held – and black Friday followed. Some stores are now opening late on Thanksgiving Day and I have even heard people use the term “Black Thursday”. The Christmas decorations seem to go up earlier and earlier each year. But Thanksgiving Day should not be the only day of giving thanks. Follow along with me as I read from Psalm 100:
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 100:1-5 (NASB)
It would be good for us to remember that when this psalm was written – there was no such thing as “Thanksgiving” day. This psalm was written long before there were pilgrims in America – long before turkeys were stuff and so were the people eating them. This psalm was written long before there were parades and football games – long before America became a country – but it is plain that this psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving none the less.
You see – thanksgiving does not need to be centered around some special date we set on a calendar. Thanksgiving – will be and has always been a matter of action and of the heart. Most of us would agree that thanksgiving should be a matter of the heart – but is it also a matter of action? Yes – thanksgiving is to be a matter of action too! At least this is what the Bible tells us in Psalm One Hundred. Look at Psalm One Hundred again – and notice all the verbs that are found in it. It is full of action words. Words like:
Shout – Serve – Come – Know – Enter – Give – Bless
All of these words are calling us to do something. To be thankful – not just with in words but also in action. To celebrate thanksgiving – has always been a matter of involvement. God calls us to be actively involved in giving thanks to Him – no matter what the date is on the calendar. In other words – thanksgiving continues on long past the fourth Thursday of November is gone. It is what I need do – on a daily basis. It is a time of giving thanks. Notice that:
1. Giving Thanks Is About EXCITEMENT
Notice what the psalmist tells us in verse one:
“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.” Psalm 100:1
Folks – God has made us a people of emotion and we should get excited about what God is doing in our lives. But you say, “But God hasn’t been doing anything in my life.” I say, “Open your eyes and see!” He gave you the strength to get out of bed this morning. He gave the clothes that you have that you can put them on. He gave you the transportation to get you here this morning – even if you can in a friend’s car – He provided you a friend that you could ride with. He gave you the beat of your heart. He gave you the breath that is in your lungs. All good gifts have come from Him. Isn’t that enough reason to SHOUT to the Lord? He is the creator – He is the sustainer. He has His eyes on the sparrows and He knows when one of them falls to ground – and He also knows the exact number of hairs on your head. SHOUT to Lord – for He is Lord – He is God – He is mighty – He is magnificent. Shout to the Lord – all the earth!
Folks if we would start counting all the blessing God has given us – we would never cease counting. Here is a little poem I ran across this week. It goes like this:
Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.
Folks – when all else fails – count on God – He is a friend who will never let you down. He will lead you through dark valleys. He will anoint your head with oil when you need healing. He will prepare a feast before you when it seems that all others have turned their back on you – and He will lead you to tables of plenty. He will give you – exceedingly – abundantly all that you need. He is God – and He watches over you. You should get excited about that fact. You should “SHOUT” to the Lord.
2. Giving Thanks Is About SERVING
Look at what verse two tells us:
“Serve the LORD with gladness.” Psalm 100:2 (NASV)
God has always asked His people to serve Him. God told Pharaoh:
"Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” Exodus 7:16 (NASV)
The Bible proclaims that one of God’s deepest desires is to have His people serve Him:
"Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” Deu 10:13 (NASV)
Jesus said we are to make service to God a priority in our lives:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Mat 6:24 (NASV)
Who or what we serve shows where our priorities are. I have heard it said:
If we are created, He is the Creator.
If we are sheep, He is our Shepherd.
If we enter His courts, He is our King.
If we serve Him, He is our Master.
But notice that God wants more than just us serving Him – He wants us to serve Him with “gladness”. We should consider it an honor and a privilege to serve Him. We should count it a joy to be able to serve the Lord. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords – to be in His presence would be an honor and a trill. I am sure that in the white house those who serve there are screened and only the best are selected. What an honor it would be to be on the staff of the white house. How much more of an honor it should be for us to serve God – for He who is above all things has called us to enter His presence and serve Him. Should we not serve Him with gladness?
3. Giving Thanks Is About COMING Before God
In verse two of Psalm One Hundred it says:
“Come before Him with joyful singing.” Psalm 100:2 (NASV)
Giving thanks to God has never been stationary or static. There is to be movement between those who are giving thanks and the One who is receiving thanks. That is why the psalmist tells us to “come”. An invitation has been offered. We are to enter His presence with a song of joy on our hearts. Sing to the Lord a new song – tell Him how thankful you are for all the blessings He has given you. Thanksgiving is an invitation from the One we are to thank. Should we be surprised at this when Jesus said:
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NASV)
"I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:11 (NASV)
God has given us great blessing – our response should be coming before Him – with joyful singing – thanking Him for all we have done.
Let me give you a little insight at this point – coming before Him does not mean that you have to leave the physical location that you find yourself – but it does mean leaving behind your self-sufficiency and pride. “Come” means making God – God and acknowledging that you are dependent on Him for all the good things that have come your way. The Bible says:
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 (NASV)
The next area we are going to look at is:
4. Giving Thanks Is About Getting to KNOW God
Let’s look at verse three:
“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalms 100:3 (NASV)
In this verse we are told to know – two things:
A. God made us
B. We are His possession
Let’s look at each one of these for just a moment.
A. God made us – not ourselves. Many times people get caught up in self-sufficiency and pride. Here is a verse that should help combat those thoughts. You are not a self made person. Yes, we all have some control of our lives to a certain extent – yet it is God who is ultimately in control. God knew you before you were formed in the womb. He knew what the color of your eyes would be. He knew how tall you would become. He knew what nationality you would be and what gender. He knew you before you were a twinkle in your parent’s eyes. Look at what the Bible says about how God made us in Psalm One Hundred Thirty Nine:
“You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” Psalms 139:13 (NASV)
If He is our creator then:
B. We are His possession. We are His people. We are the sheep of the Good Shepherd. We belong to Him.
Folks we need to understand this. There is no place for self-sufficiency or pride when we come before God with thanksgiving.
5. Giving Thanks Is About ENTERING His Gates
Psalm One Hundred verse four says:
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise.” Psalms 100:4 (NASV)
The most important thing to see in this verse is that when we give true thanksgiving it is to be in the presence of God. He is the object of our worship – and He should be the object of our thanks. I have heard it said:
Thanksgiving does not require bounty - but it does require recognition of who God is. True thanksgiving occurs in the atmosphere of worshiping in the presence of God.
Everything that we are or that we possess is because God is Who God is. When we understand this we can clearly and totally say, "Thank You, God."
The sixth point is:
6. Giving Thanks Is About SACRIFICE
Look at verse four:
“Give thanks to Him.” (Psalms 100:4)
Giving to God is an act of sacrifice. Now I know that some of you are saying, “Wait a minute – I don’t sacrifice to God.” I say, “If you worship Him – you are sacrificing to Him.” You are giving Him your time – your energy – and your attention. You are presenting yourself in such a way that you are giving yourself to His service. Folks that is sacrifice! If you don’t consider it a sacrifice – GOOD – because we need to offer ourselves to Him without giving it a second thought. What He wants most of all is our attention – our time – and our talents – so that He can use them for His glory. Give thanks to Him. Give praise to Him. Give your time – give your talents – give yourself to Him. He is worthy of our worship. The Bible says:
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1 (NASV)
God has made us in such a way that we are to give thanks to Him.
7. Giving Thanks Is About BLESSING The Lord
Look at what the last part of verse four says:
“Bless His name.” Psalms 100:4 (NASV)
God is blessed when His children bless Him.
Here is a truth about all of Psalm One Hundred – it is not about us – it is about God. Look down through it. What do you find? In verse one you’ll find the name of the Lord who is over all the earth. In verse two you’ll find the name of the Lord who wants us to rejoice with Him. In verse three you’ll find the name of the Lord who is our creator and sustainer. In verse four you’ll find His castle – His home with the doors opened wide for us. In verse five you’ll find His name that is good and kind and faithful to all generations. Does it not seem reasonable that we should end this psalm blessing His name?
Would you bow with me? Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within – bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within – bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within – bless His holy name.
May you have a wonderful day of giving thanks.