Summary: A simple Thanksgiving message that focuses on two attitudes. The attitude of selfishness and the attitude of Thankfulness. The message closes out with the one thing that Christians should truly be thankful for and that is the Price that Jesus paid.
“ARE WE TRULY THANKFUL?”
Rudyard Kipling, author of “The Jungle Book”, at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. [about $10!] A few college students, however didn’t appreciate Kipling’s writings; they lightheartedly sent him a letter enclosing ten shillings. It read, "Please, send us your best word." They got back a letter from Kipling, "Thanks."
Since Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I felt led by the Lord this week to finish the series on James next Sunday and today I would like for us to concentrate on giving thanks to our Great and Mighty God this morning. Have you ever taken the time to ponder over what giving thanks really means, or how we should do it?
You have heard me quote 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 often in my sermons. And by now, most all of you know that it says, “... pray continually.” But today, I want to read to you the very next verse. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:18, says,
“... give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Paul says that you and I are to give thanks in all circumstances. That no matter what happens in life whether life is going great or whether we are in the midst of a storm we can still give thanks to God. In other words, no matter how bad you think your life is there is always something you can be thankful for. There is always something we can give thanks about. The problem is though is that instead of giving thanks for what God has blessed us with we focus on the negative or what we don’t have. And so as Thanksgiving approaches we are going to be looking at 2 types of attitudes this morning:
1. THE ATTITUDE OF SELFISHNESS.
We’re a selfish nation. To many times we focus on what we don’t have rather than being thankful for what God has blessed us with. We become selfish and we want more. Therefore we have this attitude that says: I am really content — until I start looking through the Sears catalogue. I liked my car — until I saw the new Dodge Magnum. I am satisfied with my clothes — until I stroll through the Mall. I love our home — until I think of what it would be like to have a mansion or a log cabin on the shore of some remote lake. I am satisfied with every area of my life — until I start comparing with someone else’s life. I feel like I have enough of everything — until I see someone who has more.
Church we have to quit being farsighted and become nearsighted. What I mean by that is we need to quit looking at what everyone else has and start looking at the blessings all around us that God as blessed us with! The secret of a happy life is not to get what you want but to live with what you’ve got. Most of us spend our lives concentrating on what we don’t have instead of thanking God for what we do have. Then we wake up, our life is over, and we missed the beauty of those blessings.
You’ve heard the old saying that says, “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TILL IT’S GONE.” Think about it our power is shut off, and suddenly we become thankful for electricity. Our garbage is not picked up, and suddenly we become thankful for the garbage collector’s weekly stop. A good friend dies, and suddenly we discover how much they meant to us. Our water becomes too polluted to drink and suddenly we appreciate having good water.
We take the things that God has blessed us for granted and instead of being thankful we become even more selfish and we begin to have this attitude that says: “But, what have you done for me lately God?” We are much like the little boy who was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.” We need to quit being selfish and start being thankful. Sometimes, we get so focused on what we want, we don’t think about giving thanks. And, sometimes, we think so hard about what we want from God, we forget to ask God what He wants from us.
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college, and he was sure that his wealthy father was going to buy him a car for graduation, because they had gone and looked at cars together. Come the night of graduation, the father calls the son into his study. He tells his son how proud he is of him and hands him a nicely wrapped gift. The boy unwraps it to find a Bible. He asked his father why he gave him a Bible, and the father said it was his graduation present.