Summary: Most of us forget to be thankful simply because we do not think about what the gift cost and our own need for what is offered.

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November 19, 2000 Luke 17:11-19

“Do you think to thank?”


To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings. (William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony) So began the very first official thanksgiving celebration on the shores of this new world.

Most children, at some point in their elementary school career will have to give some kind of report on or be in a play about the events of that first Thanksgiving. I heard about a little fourth-grader who stood up to give a report concerning the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here’s how he began: "The pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you know what. When they landed, they gave thanks to you know who. Because of them, we can worship each Sunday, you know where.

When Gov. Bradford, and later President ____________ set aside one special day for giving of thanks, I don’t think that they meant for this to be the only day that we give thanks. Rather, I think that they intended that thankfulness should be so much of our everyday lives that we commemorated it with one special day of each year. In spite of that annual reminder and in spite of the many reasons that we have to give thanks, probably in many people’s homes, the only time that “thank you” is heard is over the dinner table. But even that kind of thankfulness is quickly fading away. A farmer went to eat out at a restaurant in town - and, as was his custom, he bowed his head and said a prayer before his meal. At the next table were some rowdy young men who began to poke fun at him. "Hey, farmer!" said one, "that’s out of vogue, man! Nobody prays nowadays!" "Yes, indeed," said the farmer. "There are some members of my own household who won’t pray before their meals." "Hey, they must be real smart!" said the young man, "Who are they?" The farmer answered dryly: "They are my pigs."

Probably the one day of the year on which “thank you” will be heard as often as it is on Thanksgiving Day will be Christmas Day. Unfortunately, some people will try to show their gratitude with a few too many words when they should have just quit with a simple “thank you.” A husband gave his wife a beautiful skunk coat beside a Christmas tree. When his wife opened it up she said, "I can’t see how such a nice coat can come from such a foul smelling little beast." She was referring to the skunk, but her husband believed that she was referring to him. Some of you would be most thankful if I would quit trying to tell jokes.

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Mark Ward

commented on Oct 18, 2006

this was an excellent sermon - and an excellent sermon outline!

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