Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon

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Shakespeare wrote, "How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!" True! But how much more unnatural and repugnant is ingratitude in those who have become sons and daughters of the living God.

People may have one of three possible attitudes about thanksgiving.

First, SOME PEOPLE THINK GIVING THANKS TO GOD IS UNNECESSARY. They are like the rich farmer in one of Jesus’ parables (Luke 12:16-20). Notice the repetition of the word "I." Because he gave God no credit for his blessings, he saw no reason to give Him thanks.

Second, SOME PEOPLE PRETEND TO BE THANKFUL TO GOD. They are like the self-righteous Pharisee in another one of Jesus’ parables (Luke 18:11-12). In reality his thankfulness was to himself and for himself. Jesus said that the Pharisee prayed "with [to] himself."

Third, SOME PEOPLE ARE TRULY THANKFUL TO GOD. They are like the leper who returned to thank Jesus for healing (Luke 17:11-18). Jesus asked, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" (v. 17). Only one returned to thank Jesus. Few people are truly thankful to God.

The only person who can genuinely give thanks to God is the humble person, the person who knows he deserves nothing and who therefore gives thanks even for the smallest of blessings. Lack of thankfulness comes from pride, from the conviction that we deserve something better than we have.

A medieval legend tells of two angels sent to earth by the Lord to gather the prayers of the saints. One was to gather the petitions and the other the thanksgivings. The angel responsible for petitions was not able to carry them back to heaven in one load, while the angel for thanksgivings carried them back in one hand.

That legend developed from the sad fact that God’s children are more prone to ask than to thank.


"Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God CONTINUALLY, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name" (Heb. 13:15).

"I will bless the Lord at ALL TIMES: his praise shall CONTINUALLY be in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1).

1.1 We should give thanks IN PUBLIC. "I will give thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people" (Psalm 35:18).

1.2 We should give thanks IN PRIVATE. ". . . [Daniel] went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime" (Daniel 6:10).

1.3 We should give thanks AT MIDNIGHT. "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgements" (Psalm 119:62).

1.4 We should give thanks IN THE MORNING. "It is a good think to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night" (Psalm 92:1-2).

1.5 We should give thanks BEFORE WE EAT. "Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples. . . ." (John 6:11).

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