Summary: 1- The reason for thanksgiving 2- The place of thanksgiving 3- The way of thanksgiving
INTRO.- We are to give thanks IN all circumstances. This doesn’t mean that we must give thanks FOR all circumstances, because not everything that happens to us in life is a good thing.
For example, it’s hard to give thanks when a loved one passes away. That is a heart-wrenching time, but we can give thanks if our loved one is in Christ or is a Christian. That makes their passing somewhat bearable. So, in all circumstances we must somehow find a way to give thanks to God. There is something for which to be thankful in every circumstance of life if we will look for it.
ILL.- Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so bad that one church member thought to himself, "Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this."
Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, "We thank Thee, O God, that the weather is not always like this." Yes, if nothing else, during bad situations in life we can be thankful that they will eventually pass.
And, of course, normally when we think of giving thanks, we think of giving thanks for our meals.
ILL.- The preacher asked the little girl at church, “Do you say a prayer before you eat your meals?” She replied, “No, we don’t do that because mom’s a good cook.”
If your mom is a good cook then perhaps you don’t need to give thanks for the food or ask God’s blessing on it. Is that right? No, I don’t think so. I think all the food that God gives us (good, bad or otherwise) should be received with thanksgiving.
I Timothy 4:4-5 “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” Nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving! Does this mean we can eat anything?
Our food is consecrated by prayer! Or perhaps by the prayer of thanksgiving. Consecrated. Meaning what? To consecrate something is to make it sacred. Does praying over our food make it sacred? Could be. At least, we should give thanks for whatever we have and ask God to bless it and make it useful to us, give us energy, etc. Does this work for junk food too?
When we pray and give thanks for our food, it may be as we’ve heard it prayed before: that we ask God to bless our food to our bodies and then our bodies to His service. I believe there is something to that since we all are supposed to serve the Lord and we need physical energy to be able to do that.
I think it’s always right to give thanks for everything good in life and ask God’s blessing on it whether it’s food, our work, our lives, our loved ones, our ministries, etc.
The book of Psalms is full of praise to God. We can learn from the Psalms and from David who penned many of the Psalms.
PROP.- The book of Psalms gives us more insight into our expressions of thanksgiving.
1- The reason for thanksgiving
2- The place of thanksgiving
3- The way of thanksgiving
I. THE REASON FOR THANKSGIVING
ILL.- A little boy was softly saying his night prayers kneeling by his Mother. "Say your prayers louder, darling, I can’t hear you," said little Johnny’s Mother. "But I’m not talking to you" was the instant reply.
The God of heaven should always be the object of our prayers. The reason for thanksgiving is because of who God is!
Psalm 7:17 “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”
ILL.- I saw an online survey as to how important the world series was to people. Here is how they rated the baseball world series: Who do you think will win this year’s World Series? Doesn’t matter: 69% Texas Rangers: 15% St Louis Cardinals: 15%
My thought was this: 69 percent of the people thought the world series didn’t matter at all!
There are at least two ways to look at this. One is that in the light of eternity it really didn’t matter. Our eternal salvation is not dependent on baseball, the playing of the World Series or who wins the World series.
The other thought is this: To me, it’s almost un-American to not care about the World Series, because baseball is as American as you can get! It’s almost unchristian to not like baseball and the World series! WELL, MAYBE NOT, but it is crazy to not be thankful to our God who created us! It may not be un-American but it’s unchristian to not be thankful to God!