Summary: A thanksgiving sermon that focuses on the many blessings God has given to us, how we have received them, and about our getting it right.
We come together in the house of the Lord this morning to offer praise to our God. But to praise Him properly, we must be willing to sacrifice something very near and dear to us. What would that be? I think the one thing that would be a proper sacrifice for Him this morning, is if we would sacrifice our need for independence and to be in charge of ourselves. When we give up that, we are humbling our hearts, and when we have a humbled heart, God is then able to work miracles in and around us, for His glory.
Since Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away, I would like to concentrate on giving thanks 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, I hope 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.”
In PSALM 35:28, it goes on to say,
“My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.”
Let’s be honest. None of us pray all the time and most of us don’t give thanks in all circumstances for those things God has given us. And I would even go so far as to say that most of us do nto praise God all day long, either.
Let’s review the sequence of what happens when God delivers blessings to us.
1. GOD GIVES LOVINGLY
How thankful do you think you would have been if you were among the first pilgrims? There were three boatloads that came over from England to make a home in this new country. On the voyage over, the wind blew them off course and instead of landing in Virginia, they landed in Massachusetts. And they landed just before the onset of winter.
When winter came, it came with a fury, and within a month, half of them were sick. They had the crudest of shelters and very little in the way of supplies. Over half of them died that first winter, sometimes at the rate of two and three a day!
Come springtime, those that were left had next to no supplies left. Thankfully, the Indians showed them how to plant and raise corn. Their first harvest was barely enough to keep everyone fed. The sponsors of their trip refused to send any more supplies and I can imagine that, being human, many of them probably wanted to go back to England.
I guess it is human nature to choose to go back into bad situations rather than go forth into an unknown situations. After all, the Israelites did the same thing. Just a matter of weeks after being delivered out of bondage and they were complaining and saying they should just go back to Egypt.
What did the pilgrims have to be thankful for? Well, for starters, they had their lives, and because the Indians showed them how to plant and harvest corn, they had enough supplies to get through the second winter. But how was their Thanksgiving different than our day of Thanksgiving?
The pilgrims prayed as if their lives depended on it, we don’t. The pilgrims knew that every thing they had was a direct blessing from our Lord; sometimes we forget that. The pilgrims yearned to give thanks for all they had, most often we don’t.
Thanksgiving Day is this coming Thursday, and I thought it appropriate to have a message that reminds us what thanksgiving is really about. When the word ‘thanksgiving’ is mentioned, what do we think of? We think of food, don’t we? I believe we should be thinking, not of food, but of the fact that God has given us that food. I think we should instantly be reminded of how much thanks we owe God for the abundance we take for granted.
I want you to think of some of the blessings that God has given you in your lifetime.
First of all, God has given you physical life. No matter how rough you road has been that you have traveled on, it must not have been too bad, because you are here today and you have a home, food, and transportation. What else has He blessed you with? He has blessed you with reasonably good health, with intelligence, and other emotional gifts.
But there is something else He has given you. He has given you spiritual gifts, too. He has given you the wisdom to seek Jesus in your life, and He has given you the love for others that you invite others to come worship with you.