Summary: Thankfulness, Showing Thanksgiving, Thanks to God
Intro: Edward Spencer was a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, and also a member of a life-saving squad during his school years. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue seventeen passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever bothered to thank him. Worse than being merely discourteous, these people displayed a gross lack of gratitude. Especially as believers, we need to be aware that gratitude opens up our lives for God’s will to be done in and through us.
My favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving because its beginning and its history have a single purpose: to stop and express thanks.
However, gratitude is actually to be a 24-7 attitude...not just a 1-day holiday on the fourth Thursday in November.
Being thankful is best understood as a door or a portal through which God can lead us to experience His perfect will. And simply put, without it, we’ll miss what God has in store for us. So it’s important for us to understand where gratitude and being thankful “fit in,” where they belong in our lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us straight up that in EVERYTHING we are to give thanks, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
A 24-7 attitude of gratitude is God’s desire for our lives.
So today’s task is to determine your G.Q., your gratitude quotient.
Do YOU have an attitude of gratitude?
SCRIPTURE TELLS US THERE ARE FIVE SPECIFIC AREAS IN OUR LIVES IN WHICH AND DURING WHICH WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL:
1) IN OUR BLESSINGS. -- Being thankful when things are going well.
James1:17 -- “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
-->Unfortunately, the seventeen passengers Edward Spencer rescued who never bothered to even say thank you aren’t that much unlike us.
James 1:17 tells us God is the source of all good things, and yet too often we don’t say thank you either.
Stated clearly: FAILING TO HAVE A SENSE OF GRATITUDE IS ACTUALLY INGRATITUDE.
ILLUSTRATION-I’m reminded of a story a few years back, where a man and woman gave a generous donation to their church in honor of the memory of their son who lost his life in the Iraq war. When the announcement was made during a worship service, a woman sitting in the service whispered to her husband: “Let’s give the same amount for our boy!” Her husband was incredulous. “What are you talking about,” he replied, “Our son wasn’t killed!” The woman looked at him and said, “That’s just the point! Let’s give it as an expression of our gratitude to God for sparing our son’s life.”
POEM: Similarly, an anonymous writer said it this way: “Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her, she seemed so happy, and how I wished I were so fair. When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. O God, forgive me when I whine: I have two feet, the world is mine! -- And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find;” he turned, and said, “O thank you, sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. O God, forgive me when I whine: I have two eyes, the world is mine! -- Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. O God, forgive me when I whine: I have two ears, the world is mine! -- With feet to take me where I’d go, with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know, I’m blessed indeed. The world is mine. O God, forgive me when I whine.
The Key: Expressing thanks to God for the blessings He has allowed into our lives is the STARTING PLACE for an attitude of gratitude.
Being thankful for God’s blessings is actually a no-brainer. Recognizing that every good thing is a gift from God, we should be thankful to Him for them. But an attitude of gratitude goes far beyond that alone.