Summary: Why are we rarely as thankful as we should be? Perhaps it is because we are so wrapped up with God’s blessings that we forget their source; we are not willing to take the time or expend the patience it takes to say, "Thank You, Lord."
Greedy for Good Times
1. Many of us have families spread throughout the nation. It is hard to get together, even for the holidays.
2. The day before Thanksgiving an elderly man in Phoenix called his son in New York and said to him, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough. We’re sick of each other, and so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her."
Frantic, the son called his sister, who exploded on the phone. "No way are they getting divorced," she shouted, "I’ll take care of This." She called Phoenix immediately, and said to her father. "You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?"
The man hung up his phone and turned to his wife. "Okay, honey. The kids are coming for Thanksgiving and paying for their flights." [sermoncentral]
3. Thanksgiving is, in some ways, the most Christian of holidays. It has not been hijacked by the merchants or candy makers. Turkey Claus has yet to emerge.
4. Although many of us will enjoy a gluttonous feast, the question arises, "Are we thankful people? Do we actually thank God on thanksgiving, and are we thankful on a daily basis?"
Main Idea: Why are we rarely as thankful as we should be? Perhaps it is because we are so wrapped up with God’s blessings that we forget their source; we are not willing to take the time or expend the patience it takes to say, "Thank You, Lord."
I. The Command to PRIORITIZE Gratitude (Deuteronomy 8:10-11, 17-18)
A. What does it mean to FORGET God? (10-11)
• It does not mean we forget He exists, but we forget His personal hand in our daily lives.
B. Why is it so EASY to credit ourselves for success? (17-18)
1. God brings both successes and failures our way
2. God’s blessings usually come indirectly (manna vs. rich soil)
3. In some way, God does help those who help themselves
4. Belief in God’s sovereignty does not negate our need to be proactive
II. The Rarity of TRUE Thankfulness (Luke 17:11-19)
A. The contemptuous HUMBLED (11-12)
• These men had to keep their distance, unlike the man in Luke 5:12 who came up to Jesus. He was able to do this because Luke says he was covered with leprosy, thus clean according to Leviticus 13:12-13.
B. An AMAZING miracle (14)
C. Two DISTINCT responses (15-19)
1. The nine: REQUIRED obedience only
2. The one: HEARTFELT thanks
• Had he tried to persuade him? As a Samaritan, he may have started to Mt. Gerizim to have the Samaritan priest declare him clean, not Jerusalem.
• Jesus had just told a parable about servants eating after their master. Jesus ends it with 17:10, "So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’"
• The nine did their duty and went to the Temple; the 10th was touched by God’s Spirit. Jesus literally says to this 10th, "Your faith has made you well." All 10 were healed, but in what sense was this man made uniquely well?
• It is this dynamic that distinguishes one born of the Spirit; he is not merely doing his duty out of fear or responsibility, but from a regenerate heart.
III. The LESSONS
A. It takes PATIENCE to be thankful
B. It takes INTENTIONALITY to be thankful
1. Habits of thankfulness (church attendance, prayer before or after meals, blessing God’s Name)
2. Learning to be thankful to others helps reinforce this attitude (good manners)
A few years ago Dr. Nick Stinnett of the University of Nebraska conducted a group of studies called the "Family Strengths Research Project"
Stinnett and his researchers identified six qualities that make for strong families. The first quality and one of the most important to be found in strong families was the quality of appreciation. Families that are strong are strong in part, Dr. Stinnett concludes, because family members express to each other their appreciation for what the other members DO and for who they ARE.
In a similar study another researcher looked into the effect of praise in the workplace.
His study showed that the ratio of praise to criticism in the workplace needs to be four to one before employees feel that there is a balance - that there must be four times as much praise as there is criticism before they feel good about their work and about the environment they work in.