Summary: Expanded topical sermon outline on the value of gratitude and thanksgiving.
Discussion of the Thanksgiving Holiday and the value of thanksgiving and gratitude throughout the year.
The Importance of Being Thankful
1. God COMMANDS us to be thankful.
1 Cor. 16:8 “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!”
Col 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Col 4:2 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;”
2. Lack of thankfulness is the BEGINNING of idolatry and depravity.
Rom 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
3. Unthankfulness finds expression in our WORDS.
Matt 12:34 “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
4. Grumbling, murmuring and complaining are SIN.
1 Cor 10:7-10 “And do not become idolaters…Nor let us commit sexual immorality…nor let us tempt Christ…nor complain…”
5. Complaining demonstrates a lack of TRUST and a heart of rebellion.
Exod 16:7 "And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD; for He hears your complaints against the LORD. But what are we, that you complain against us?"
1 Chr 16:34 “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
Example - Absalom - “If I were king.” The rebellion of Absalom.
Gratitude fully embraces the will of God for our lives.
How to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
1. Learn to trust God’s WISDOM.
Prov 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
At the last supper Jesus gave thanks for the meal.
Pure in heart will see God.
Gratitude can be a matter of vision - you must see God.
2. Recognize we have received far more that we DESERVE.
We tend to ingest the attitude of the culture - “you owe me” and entitlement.
Compare your situation to other who are far less blessed.
Pastor Jack Hinton from New Bern, N.C. was leading music for a worship service held in a leper colony on the island of Tobago. There was time for one more selection. He asked for a request, and a woman who had been facing away from the pulpit turned around. ’I saw the most hideous face I had ever seen,’ Jack says. ’The woman’s nose and ears were entirely gone. Most of her lips had rotted away. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, ’Can we sing, Count Your Many Blessings?’ Overcome with emotion, Jack left the service. He was followed by a team member who said, ’Jack, I guess you’ll never be able to sing that song again.’ ’Yes, I will,’ Jack replied, ’but I’ll never sing it the same way again.’
That kind of changes our perspective, doesn’t it?
How many blessings can you count?
Charles Lowry tells the story of poor Mr. Jones: "One day Mrs. Jones decided to get rid of some bad hair spray that she had. She decided that a good way to get rid of it would be to spray it into the commode. Shortly afterwards, her husband came home. As was his usual custom, he went to the `reading room’ (bathroom) to relax. As soon as he was comfortably seated, he lit a cigarette and tossed the match between his legs into the commode.
"You guessed it! The hair spray exploded and blew Mr. Jones heavenward. Unfortunately for Mr. Jones, the shower bar stopped his ascent. So, after the ambulance arrived the driver asked Mrs. Jones how Mr. Jones got both a burned backside and a concussion at the same time. As she began to explain what had happened, the ambulance attendants were carrying Mr. Jones down the stairs. They got so tickled about the story that they dropped Mr. Jones down the stairs and broke both his arms.
"Poor Mr. Jones, it definitely was not his day. He suffered one burned backside, one concussion, and two broken arms."
Now don’t you have a lot to be grateful for?
If you don’t have everything you want, be thankful for the things you don’t have that you don’t want.
Realize the best any of us deserve is hell. Anything more is a blessing we should be grateful for.
3. Choose to give thanks independent of FEELINGS or circumstances.
1Thes 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Paul and Silas in Philippi.
Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In the midst of expressing a need, do it with thanksgiving.