Summary: Whenever our children are offered a treat from a friend or an adult helps them out, parents normally will ask, “Now, what do you say?” Thanks David Washburn for such a great message. I hope this adaptation will be used by God.
Whenever our children are offered a treat from a friend or an adult helps them out, parents normally will ask, “Now, what do you say?”
We want our children to be respectful and use good manners, which is why we teach them to say “Thank you,” but I wonder, as we work to produce properly mannered children, do we understand the thankfulness within “Thank you.”
Do we bring our children to a place where thankfulness is more than simply being polite?
Do we make thankfulness a recognizable part of their person-hood?
Are we, as adults or parents, at a place where thankfulness is a recognizable part of our person-hood?
A few years ago, the Peanuts cartoon pictured Charlie Brown bringing out Snoopy’s dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But it was just his usual dog food in a bowl. Snoopy took one look at the dog food and said, "This isn't fair. The rest of the world is eating turkey with all the trimmings, and all I get is dog food. Because I’m a dog, all I get is dog food." He stood there and stared at his dog food for a moment, and said, "I guess it could be worse. I could be the turkey."
There’s not much joy in Snoopy’s thankfulness, is there? You see his thankfulness was based on a comparison. His thankfulness was based on the fact that he was better off than the turkey.
When it comes to our thankfulness, how many are like Snoopy saying “Whew, am I thankful that I’m not her,” or “I am so thankful I don’t have to live like him.”
It reminds me of our passage for tonight: 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.”
Thankfulness is so much more than a comparison of my situation to someone else’s.
Thankfulness is much more than having enough food to eat, a nice, warm home to live in, good health, or financial security, because each of those circumstances, as we all know, can be taken from us in an instant.
Thankfulness is a state of being and a way of life, and we sometimes fail to live in a state of thankfulness because we…tend take it for granted.
What if the stars came out only once in a 1000 years, everybody would stay up all night to watch them?
Everyone would believe in God. But the stars come out every night while we watch our favorite TV shows. [1st is from Part Emerson]
I wonder if we have grown so accustomed to our blessings that we pay them little if any attention.
In Luke 17: 12-19, we have the account of one leper who provides us with some very important lessons on thankfulness.
I. Being thankful is not only expressed through prayer but through your attitude in living life.
I doubt this leper found any joy in having leprosy. Lepers were shunned by society. They had to live outside the city. They had to shout “Unclean” whenever they came close to others, so others could be warned to stay away.
As a matter of fact the first century belief was that God gave leprosy to punish those who were sinful and disobedient.
How thankful would we be, being looked down upon by society, being told that you have leprosy because you have angered God.
I wonder how much joy and thankfulness would there be in my life if people kept telling me how hopelessly sorry and useless I was?
I believe this leper, maintained a spirit of joy and thankfulness, which enabled him to more fully appreciate what Christ had done for him.
We've all experienced “leprosy;” a time where we felt separated and alone, whether it was in the death of a spouse, or the loss of a job, or the dissolving of a marriage, or the infliction of emotional pain. We've all had circumstances in life where we've lived outside the city, where we've paused and asked, “God, what did I do to deserve this?”
What I know about God and His love for you and me tells me that the leper didn't deserve it, and God was not punishing him for some horrendous sin.
The same can be said for each of us who battles “leprosy.” We share in his pain and his sorrow.
But do we share something else in common with the leper; do we also share his thankful attitude?
Does your life, represent a spirit of thankfulness?
I can think of folk and I’m sure that you each know people who have an attitude, which displays happiness and thankfulness for life.
Are you one of those people or are you more like Snoopy, whose thankfulness is based on comparison?