Summary: Having an attitude of gratitude begins with contentment which is found through trusting God and keeping in constant prayer to Him.
Have the Attitude of Gratitude
I have no doubt that everyone is aware that this is the week of Thanksgiving Day. Many of us are looking forward to the day, perhaps having a day or two off from work. Thanksgiving Day is not the usual Holiday for us in America in that it does not celebrate an epic day in history or remember the birth of a famous person or persons, or commemorate the writing of a historic document. Thanksgiving Day in America is given to the remembrance and expression of gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives.
This holiday is one of the few which has not been over-run by commercialism or watered down by secularism, though not for lack of trying. This holiday has a long and somewhat checkered history in our nation. The popular story of the Pilgrims feasting with the natives of the New World is not exactly accurate but what is verifiably true is that the early explorers and settlers of this nation have a history of setting aside time to specifically give thanks to God.
The earliest written record of thanksgiving to God in America occurred in Texas on May 23, 1541 when Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado held a service of thanksgiving with his company of men after finding food, water, and pasture for their animals in the Panhandle.
There is in fact only one letter, written by a man of Plymouth by the name of Edward Winslow, which records the Pilgrim feast of 1621 but in the letter Winslow gives praise and speaks of the goodness of God and makes clear that the feast was to rejoice in the gathered harvest.
We have many other recorded days of thanksgiving in our history but an annual national observation of Thanksgiving Day first began in 1863 and in 1942 the day was officially set to the fourth Thursday of every November. If there is one thing clear from our history it is that from the earliest days of our nation people in this land have taken time to give praise and thanksgiving to God.
What we need to realize is that this is the way it is to be the people of God everyday. For we who profess to follow the Lord, Thanksgiving Day is not just a time for food, football, and family. It’s not just a holiday every fourth Thursday in November. It’s not limited to a day at all. For God’s people, everyday ought to be a Thanksgiving Day!
I. Continually Offer Up a Sacrifice
A. Of praise and thanks to God
1. Hebrews 13:15 (NASB) Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
2. The scriptures are full of admonitions and commands to give praise and thanks to God (over 500 occurrences of thankfulness in Scripture.)
a. 2 Samuel 22:50 (NASB) “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, And I will sing praises to Your name.
b. 1 Chronicles 16:8 (NASB) Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.
c. Psalms 7:17 (NASB) I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
d. Psalms 117:1 - 2 (NASB) Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD! (Quoted by Paul in Romans 15:11.)
e. Ephesians 5:19-20 (NASB) speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
f. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB) in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
3. It is recorded in the Talmud (which is a record of rabbinic discussions relating to Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history) that, in the time of the Messiah, all sacrifices, except the sacrifice of praise, should cease.
a. (Vayikra Rabba, sect. 9, fol. 153, and Rabbi Tanchum, fol. 55: “Rabbi Phineas, Rabbi Levi, and Rabbi Jochanan, from the authority of Rabbi Menachem of Galilee, said, In the time of the Messiah all sacrifice shall cease, except the sacrifice of praise.”)
b. It was the point of the writer to the Hebrews that the time of the Messiah had come; that Jesus was that Messiah; and that the Jewish sacrificial system was now abolished except the sacrifice of praise.
B. The Fruit of the Lips
1. We no longer sacrifice the blood of animals