Summary: The importance of developing an attitude of gratitude.
Iliff and Saltillo UM churches
November 21, 2004
“An Attitude of Gratitude”
I Thess. 5:16-24
INTRODUCTION: Today I’m going to start out by giving you a little quiz. I will show you an object and you are to tell me what goes with it. (show object in first column)
Column 1 Column 2
salt shaker pepper
peanut butter (jar) jelly (jar)
ham (puppet pig) eggs (egg box)
PLEASE THANK YOU
Please pass the mashed potatoes
PLEASE God Thank You
Please Lord, give me a job, heal my body, give me...
In today’s scripture, Paul talks about an attitude of gratitude as being the link to pleasing God. In fact he says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” In other scriptures he says, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20). The word always show up again in Philippians 4:4 when he says “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God...” The word always suggests the importance of living in a different way from the world.
1. The Importance of an Attitude of Gratitude: Why is it so important? An “attitude of gratitude” involves more than being thankful occasionally or one special day a year. It is good to set aside this day to observe a time of Thanksgiving as we surround ourselves with family, friends, and food; but what about all the other days of the year when we take things and people so much for granted.
Along with giving thanks being the will of God for us, there is another reason why it is so important. Psalm 100 calls it a PASSWORD to opening the windows of heaven.
To you who are on e.mail you know that you need a password to get online.
ILLUSTRATION: Walter said, “I can’t get online.”
I asked, “What password are you using?”
He told me and I said, “one of the numbers is wrong. Try this instead.”
He did and immediately it worked.
We fail to receive from God when we are careless about thanking him.
Psalm 100 (in the Message Bible) says,
“Enter with the Password: Thank You. Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank Him, Worship Him.”
Thank You opens the door to all that God has done, is doing, and will do. Not just on Thanksgiving Day. Be generous with your Thank You to God.
It is important because it opens the windows of heaven and promises the spiritually good life here and now. It ushers certain treasures into our life.
STORY: A rabbi was walking in the country when he came across an old farmer working in the fields.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“Terrible!!” The farmer began to recite his litany of troubles.
“The tomato crop failed this year.
The apples had worms in them.
The corn crop was a disaster.
Things couldn’t get any worse
My kids were sick
My wife broke her arm.
Nothing has gone well
No signs of anything getting better
Trouble on every side
Can’t pay the bills. If I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.
Things just couldn’t get worse. It’s been a terrible year.
God looked down and spoke to the rabbi, “If he thinks THIS is bad, wait until he sees next year.”
The rabbi continued walking and came across the farmer in an adjoining field.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
The farmer replied, “Doing pretty good.”
The corn crop is not the best in the world, but it will give us a little money.
The apples weren’t as good as last year, but they sure made some good applesauce.
My kids were sick but they’re doing better now.
We paid off half of the bills this year, so I am thankful for that.
We’re a happy family and we’ve got food on the table.
God said to the rabbi, “Well if he thinks THAT’S good, just wait until he sees what I will do for him next year!!!”
An old Proverbs says, “He who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” (An Estonian proverb).
“You won’t be happy with more until you’re happy with what you’ve got.” (Vicki King).
2. Giving Thanks When It Is Difficult: It’s the will of God that we live in an attitude of gratitude and it opens the windows that God can do more for us, but what if we don’t FEEL like saying, Thank You. What do we do when things are difficult in our lives. Do we just wait until things get better first?
Today’s scripture says, “Be cheerful no matter what, pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (I Thess. 5:16 Message Bible).