Summary: This message looks at the importance of having a thankful heart.
“A Thankful Heart is not Optional”
Several years back the Peanuts comic strip 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 today is eating turkey with all the trimmings and all I get is dog food. Because I’m a dog," he said, "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 a turkey." We live in a society that has an attitude of entitlement and that shows very little gratitude. For Paul giving thanks is as much a believer’s obligation as faith in Christ is. In our text Paul paints a very dismal picture of the godless person. God has gone to great lengths to make sure that man is able to know as much about Him as we need to know. When you examine His creation, you will discover that His eternal power and divine nature are evident. Paul shows that the big problem is that people have turned their back on God, the do not glorify Him as the almighty God nor give thanks for the blessings that He gives them. Paul makes a definite link in our text between ingratitude and futile thinking. Let’s pause and take a look at the devastating effects of an unthankful heart.
I. An unthankful heart darkens our senses and minds as well as hinders our worship.
A. When we fail to give God thanks our minds become clouded and our heart grows dark.
1. These two responses—to glorify God and give him thanks—are the most basic of all human obligations toward the Creator.
2. The attitude that is most commonly displayed toward God in our culture is, “What have you done for me lately?”
3. Our prayers become flooded with complaints rather than praise much like the Israelites did in the wilderness.
4. Our culture’s view that we are entitled to what we have is egotism in its supreme form.
5. This mentality darkens our heart and ultimately separates us from God.
B. We need to understand that thanking is much more than just right thinking.
1. When you look at the etymology of the word thank you discover that it comes from the same root as the word think.
2. Eventually the word thanking evolved into a separate existence because thanking is much more than simply right thinking.
3. The person who is thinking right gives thanks for the things that the majority of people take for granted.
4. It is obvious that we need to say thank you to someone, because someone is the source of all these blessings.
5. Paul’s logic is clear, if we take all the blessings we have for granted, our hearts will turn away from God.
C. The reason it is easy to miss so many of the blessings God has given is because we are constantly surrounded by them.
1. Each of us compared to the rest of the world and compared to any other person at any other time of existence are rich beyond our wildest dreams. We travel by airplane, drive nice cars, live in air conditioned homes, have TV’s, DVD’s, MP3s, GPSs, Cell Phones and computers. We eat out in nice restaurants and we worship in comfortable church buildings.
2. The evidence of God’s providence and bountiful blessings are all around us.
3. We are like the fish in the sea. “Oh where is the sea,” the fish cried, as they swam the Atlantic waters through. “We’ve heard of the sea and the ocean tide, and we long to gaze on its waters blue.”
4. Just as the waters of the sea surrounded the curious fish, God’s providence completely surrounds us.
5. You would think that all these blessings would make us the most grateful people on earth. But often all this affluence really does is just make us more and more discontented and ungrateful.
6. We grumble, gripe and complain; never stopping to acknowledge or thank God.
7. There once was a poor, rural family who were greatly concerned because their little boy had not yet started talking. The family didn’t have many resources to call upon, so the problem went on for a long time. One day, while the mother was making supper, she became overwhelmed and lost her concentration. She burned the meal. After she served the meal, the little boy tasted it and hollered, “I can’t eat this! It’s all burned.” Shocked but happy, the mother hugged the child and asked, “Why haven’t you been talking?” He said, “Up to now everything has been OK!”