Summary: What do we do when a simple "thank you" is not enough?

1 Chronicles 16 Thanksgiving 2008

How do you thank God?

Have you ever received a gift and a mere “Thank you” was just not enough?

I feel that way at various times in prayer, probably most acutely at the Lord’s Table when we thank Jesus for giving up his life so that we might be forgiven and given life.

We may wonder how to give thanks for the big things that God does for all of us through Jesus – but it might be that just “thank you” doesn’t cut it for individual prayers and requests that God has given you.

How do you respond to the general grace that God gives all of us?

How do you respond when God blesses you specifically – he heals you or a friend, he redeems someone you love, he provides for you miraculously…

This message, of course, assumes that you want to give God thanks. If you have troubles with welling up the emotion of Gratitude within you, checkout previous Thanksgiving sermons on the web.

We’ve been looking at David stories for the last couple of months. David was the most famous king of Israel, he was a great warrior, and a great leader. But he was also in intimate relationship with God and he was a poet and a musician.

When David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, he composed a Psalm that might teach us how to give thanks when God does great for us.

Read 1 Chronicles 16:1-36

I think that the first section can help us greatly if we look at the things David tells us to do.

Give praise to the LORD, call on his name;

Giving praise is an emotional act, and the feeling of thanksgiving can drive it. Even if we feel like words are not enough, they are needed. When I give a gift to someone, I want to know if they like it – I can see it by the expression on their face, but I will only know if they tell me.

We begin our thanksgiving by giving voice to it in praise and worship to the Giver of all good things.

Song, dance, posture, speaking out God’s qualities…

make known among the nations what he has done.

The nations – the gentiles – the unbelievers

My knee story – tell people – tell people that it is hard to tell – say it in the best way you can so they can understand it.

It may be easier to tell people about less supernatural things – when we tell people that we feel blessed by our family, by our friends, by our situation, or that we feel like God helped us through a tough time. People can receive those things as nice sentiments with out thinking we are crazy.

But when we tell people about miracles that we have experienced, we are taking a risk that they will think we are irrational. Miracles might be a little irrational, but that doesn’t mean that they are not acceptable. I think that the reason that many people don’t accept miracles is they don’t hear about them from credible sources. They hear about them from TV preachers who seem to have ulterior motives for telling the story. Most of us here are pretty sane credible, witnesses. When we tell our story, people have to give it a second thought, and it may open the door for them thinking that maybe they could have the same experience of God.

The first reason that I was even open to the Toronto Blessing was that two of my close, fairly sane, friends had experienced it, and as weird as it was, they were blessed by God in it. If they had not embraced it, I might not have given it a look in.

We need to learn to tell the stories of God’s impact on our life – in ways that our non-Christian friends can hear it. If we use a lot of Christianese like “sanctified” and “Justified” and “cleansed by the blood,” or even quoting scripture like “by his wounds we are healed,” they are not going to even understand our story, never mind accepting it as true. Tell people about what God has done for you!

We might think that this is a good way to draw people into faith in God, but in the context of thanksgiving, telling people what God has done is first about honouring God, it is first about giving him his due.

He repeats the couplet of praise, and telling the story

Sing to him, sing praise to him;

He is more specific here – that our praise should be expressed in singing – sing out your praise to God – connect your heart to His through song.

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