Summary: It’s easy to take things for granted. To truly have a grateful heart, one needs to get their eyes off of themselves and open to the world around them

How to Have a Grateful Heart

Jared Schroeder

October 8, 2006

Thanksgiving Sunday

Mission Heights Church

2005 Predictions…

In 2005, there will be 256 million turkeys raised in the United States.

There will be 649 million pounds of cranberries produced.

There will be 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes produced.

There will be 998 million pounds of pumpkin products produced.

The average American will consume 13.7 pounds of turkey this year.


A little history…

Thanksgiving tradition…In 1621, the Plymouth Colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which in now known as the first Thanksgiving.

No turkey – Venison, wild fowl, and deer

No mashed potatoes and gravy and no forks!

3 day celebration – not a religious event

Not much veggies and no pumpkin pie

Not a repeated event – did start as a yearly tradition

1817 – New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln appointed a Day of Thanksgiving.

It is a day to acknowledge the goodness of God:

James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

“How to have a Grateful Heart”

This morning, we will look at a few Roadblocks to Thankfulness,

and a few “springboards” to Thankfulness

Roadblocks to Thankfulness

1. Pride

We all struggle with pride. It’s a part of who we are.

Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”


Pride will be expressed in several ways…

Selfishness – “I’ve worked so hard lately, I deserve to indulge myself. And if I don’t get what I want, then God doesn’t really care for me.”

Other side of the coin – Self-pity

Self-pity- “Look at what I’ve gone through. I deserve to be comforted, even if I know it’s not the right way to get comfort”

We see that in the book of Ecclesiastes, the author, often thought to be King Solomon, is nearing the end of his life. He is reflecting on man’s pursuits, mostly driven by selfishness and pride.

Turn with me to Ecc. 2

Ecc. 2:1-11 – The pursuits of man

- laughter

- wine

- great projects

- houses

- vineyards

- gardens and parks

- slaves

- cattle

- silver and gold

- entertainment


- REFUSED MY HEART NO PLEASURE! – Shouldn’t that produce a grateful heart?

- NO – “Everything meaningless” – It left him empty!

- 2:17 – “He hated life!”

- 2:25 - “Without God, who can find enjoyment?”


Pride prevents us to see the blessings we already have.

Another Roadblock to Thankfulness, to a Grateful heart is…

2. Ignorance

We live in a country of extreme abundance, and yet for many of us, we are still hoping and dreaming of more and more.

And yet, the majority of the world lives in poverty.

We are in a Spiritual battle – Satan doesn’t want us to think too much about the hurting and lost world. That’s why it seems so easy to get focused on our own busy lives, putting all our time, energy and thoughts in our own little bubble of our lives.

Ignorance is a tool used by the enemy! Let’s shatter this tool. Let’s unveil the world that we are a part of.

James 1:17 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Orphans, widows, - those in need – the poor, sick, the lost.

Put things into perspective with regards to poverty and population…

World Population – 6, 548, 087, 222 – 6.5 Billion

US – 300,000,000 – 300 million

Canada – 32, 647, 657 - 32 and a half million.

Consider the following poverty statistics

1. Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day. source 1

2. 20% of the population in the developed nations, consume 86% of the world’s goods.

3. A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and these 12 percent do not live in the Third World.

4. 35,000 children under five die in the developing world every day. The great majority of these deaths are preventable by adequate food and basic medical care. (Almost 60% of these deaths are from three diseases: pneumonia, diarrhea and measles, all of which could be prevented or cured by adequate food and medical care.

That is about 245,000 children each week, or just under 13 million children under five years of age, each year. source 19

5. A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people.

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