Summary: what it means to have a thankful heart

Dec. 3, 2000 Colossians 3:15-17

“A thankful heart”


Eight things to be thankful for: Be grateful...

* for automatic dishwashers. They make it possible to get out of the kitchen before the family comes in for their after-dinner snacks.

* for husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house. They usually make them big enough to call in professionals.

* for the bathtub -- the one place the family allows Mom some time to herself.

* for children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.

* for gardening. It’s a relief to deal with dirt outside the house for a change.

* for teenagers. They give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.

*for smoke alarms. They let you know when the turkey’s done.-- Gene Perrett

This morning, I want us to continue our look at what the Bible has to say about the attitude of gratitude – the giving of thanks. This week, our family was headed into a store and somehow the word “thanksgiving” came up. Victoria was saying the word a little bit different than we normally did. She was saying “thanksgiving” with the emphasis on the giving aspect of the idea. She reminded us that saying thanks is a gift in itself. It is the gift of encouragement to the giver of the gift, and it is a recognition of their impact on our lives, whether it be small or great. Unfortunately, the gift of saying thanks has become the hardest to find gift of all.

The verses that we are going to examine this morning talk about what it means to have a thankful heart. They tell us where a thankful heart comes from, what it can accomplish in us personally, and what it can accomplish for the kingdom of God. As we deal with these verses, ask yourself, “Self, am I controlled by a thankful heart? And even if the answer is yes, have I told anybody about my thanks lately?” By the time that we get done today, I hope that your motivation for being thankful and giving thanks will have been increased to the point that you will make it the predominant pattern in your life.

1. A thankful heart is a heart where Christ’s peace is in control. (vs. 15)

“peace of Christ” – the peace that Christ controls; the peace that Christ had [in the midst of his troubles & in the midst of those who disagreed with Him]; the peace that Christ commands (Mark 9:50 NIV) "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."

“rule” – the word which is used here for rule is not the kind of word that would speak of a king or an elected official. The idea is more of a judge or an umpire. Both a judge and an umpire take the information that is available to them, and based on that information, they make a call as to what course of action is going to be followed. One or all parties may not like what the judge has to say, but they have obligated themselves to do whatever the judge says. He is in control.

There are many umpires that a person can allow to control their hearts other than peace. A person who loves money lets money control their thoughts and actions. Who gets hurt and what is right is not important. Money, and the getting of more of it, is the rule. Whatever it takes to get more of it, that’s what they are willing to do. Some persons allow pleasure to control them. Whatever it takes to get more pleasure – sexual pleasure, football pleasure, TV pleasure, food pleasure – I’m going after it no matter if I have to put myself in debt to get it, no matter if I break God’s laws to achieve it, no matter how big the consequences are going to be, no matter if I hurt my wife and kids . . . Others allow the desire for control to control them. My way or the highway. My way or no way. Even if you convinced me that your way was the best way, I wouldn’t go that way because then I would no longer be in control.

None of these things that I have listed nor any other thing is supposed to control the decision making process in my mind. It is the peace of Christ that is supposed to control me. So when my bills pile up, it is not my bills that control my actions or my attitude; it is Christ’s peace. When my health goes bad, it is not my body that controls my spirit or my relationship to other people; it is Christ’s peace. When I have a disagreement with someone, it is not my emotions that control my thoughts or my actions; it is Christ’s peace. Christ’s peace decides how I’m going to respond to the events and people of my life.

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