Summary: Christians should be a thankful people, but are we really as thankful as we should be?
Are You Truly Thankful?
Just two short years ago, Citibank started an advertising campaign on television for their new line of credit cards. This line of cards carries rewards or prizes that you can receive for using the card. It is just their way of saying “Thank you” to the customer for choosing to use their card.
One of the commercials, which I found quite humorous, involved two ladies in the grocery store. The one lady puts her hand on the stomach of the other and asks her when the baby is due. The woman then looks at her and say, “I’m not pregnant.” Not knowing what else to say, the woman replies, “Thank you.” With this simple reply, the offended woman forgets the insulting words that were just uttered, and the two ladies embrace. Citibank then flashes their slogan across the screen that states, “It’s amazing what a simple thank you can do.”
It is amazing what a simple thank you can do. How many of you have been uplifted by receiving a thank you note from someone you have helped along the way? I recently received a CD from one of my friends in college. He has just started out in the Christian music business, and he sent me a copy of his disc. On the CD, he wrote the following phrase. “Thank you for letting me borrow your guitar when we were in college.” That thank you made my day. He was grateful even for something small I had done. To tell you the truth, I had actually forgotten that I ever lent him a guitar, but his thankfulness for this small event made me smile all day.
Even though there are some people like my friend who truly are thankful in all things, most people are only thankful when they have to be. This goes for Christians as well. That is a terrible thing to have to say, but it is the truth. Why else would we have to have a special day to offer thanksgiving? If we gave thanks all the time like we should, there would be no need to have this holiday. I don’t believe that we are ungrateful and unthankful on purpose. I think we are because it is our nature as humans to take things for granted and it is nothing new. People were not thankful in Jesus’ day either. In Luke, chapter 17, we are told about an event that warranted thanks. If you have your Bible, turn with me now to Luke 17 starting with verse 11.
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.
Tonight, I want to take a look at three aspects of thankfulness that we need to glean from this Scripture. Let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.
Aspect #1: There are no good excuses for unthankfulness
We as Americans love to make excuses. After all, nothing is ever our fault. No one in jail has ever committed a crime. It was always someone else’s fault. When a little child gets in trouble, they will always blame it on another person. When a politician gets in a bind, they will always find something else to pin the blame on.
One of my favorite excuses of all time was in a popular lawsuit filed a few years back. A woman spilled her McDonald’s coffee on her lap and got burned. Then, she sued the company for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was not her fault that the coffee spilled and burned her even though she was the only one in the car. It was the fault of McDonalds because their hot coffee was too hot. Even though she would have probably have complained if the coffee was too cold, she won this lawsuit. Even though it was entirely her fault, McDonald’s had to take the blame because she had a good enough excuse in the eyes of the judge.
Making excuses is nothing new. Think about the first humans on the planet. They are told not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree. Then, they both do and have to face God. God comes to them, and he asks what has happened. He first approaches Adam, and what does Adam do? He makes an excuse. “It’s not my fault. The woman you put here with me made me do it.” Then, when God gets to Eve, she makes an excuse. “The talking snake tricked me into doing it. It’s not my fault.” These excuses seemed valid, but God does not buy excuses. God had told them not to eat, but they did anyhow. Even though they had excuses lined up, God punished Adam and Eve because excuses were not enough.