Summary: Who are the thankful? What do they look like? How do they act? How can we tell them apart from those who are not thankful? I think Psalm 100:1-5 gives us some clues.
“HOW TO SPOT THE THANKFUL”
INTRODUCTION: Who are the thankful? What do they look like? How do they act? How can we tell them apart from those who are not thankful? I think Psalm 100:1-5 gives us some clues. Here we will find what to look for and more importantly, examine where we are in regards to being able to determine how thankful we are.
1) Thankful people express it. Vs. 1-2 “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” We see that the thankful worship the Lord with gladness and in joyful song. Those who are thankful for what God has done worship him with a smile on their face and excitement in their hearts. Anywhere along the course of their day they are mindful of what the Lord has done and their heart warms and they find themselves smiling away. When something happens and they know it came from the Lord they say, “Praise God” and even joyfully shout out a “hallelujah”. And we see that the thankful are joyfully singing to the Lord. You might be riding in the car or at work or at home and you find yourself breaking into belting out some praise songs. When we’re really thankful for something we can find ourselves getting pretty excited (like when we score that great deal on Black Friday). Thankful people express their thanks. But this not only applies to what the Lord has done, but also for what others have done. When someone does something to benefit us are we quick to thank them? Thankful people express thanks when good deeds are done. When someone does something that benefits us or even when we see someone do something that benefits someone else if we are thankful people we are going to acknowledge that. Thankful people express thankfulness even in their everyday speech. Eph. 5:4, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” We’re all expressing something. What are people hearing when they hear us? Is our speech vulgar, foolish or coarse or is it pleasant, beneficial and thankful? You can spot the thankful because they are the ones expressing thanks.
2) Thankful people know God. Vs. 3 “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” First the psalmist highlights us to recognize that the Lord is God. Be convinced that he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Then we can rest in his promises because we know they are sure. We can rest in his protection and provision. In all this we are more content and thankful that the God of the universe loves and cares for me. And it will show as we go about praising him for all that he is. The thankful are such because they recognize that God is responsible for all their blessings, abilities and protections, not themselves. Therefore, in order to be thankful I must be humble. The thankful know that the Lord is God. Next we see the psalmist drawing attention to God as our Creator. Part of our thankfulness has to do with knowing we have been wonderfully and carefully woven together in our mother’s womb. The thankful are people who joyfully praise God for making them. We give thanks that we belong to him; we are his precious children. We are thankful that he has gifted us and we are thankful that he has created us for divine purpose. We praise him for including us as workers to help accomplish his holy plans. The thankful know that God is the Creator and provider of all that is good. They honor him and pay him the respect and reverence he deserves. Col. 2:6-7, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Now that we know God, now that we have experienced his love through Christ, now that we have been saved from eternal damnation, we honor him with lives lived out in thankful service. Not only are we thankful, we are overflowing with thankfulness. That means that we are allowing our attitude of thankfulness to overflow into the lives of those we encounter.
3) Thankful people come to church with the right attitude. Vs. 4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Here we see that the thankful are entering into church with thanksgiving and praise. Is that what we do? I’m not saying that if there’s a Sunday morning that we don’t do this then we aren’t a thankful person but I will say that if we come to church miserable or disinterested then at least in that moment we don’t have a thankful attitude. If coming to church is a chore or burden then there’s something wrong. I know one thing that will help us to be in a better frame of mind when we enter the gates is when we’re not rushing in at the last minute. Better late than not at all but if you’re anything like me, when I get somewhere late I’m not in the best frame of mind. When it comes to church, rushing in causes us to be frazzled and frustrated. However, being here early allows us to relax, get situated, and focus. It also allows us to fellowship and we get our hearts and minds where they need to be when service begins. We are thankful for being able to come and give God a couple hours of our time in worship and praise. Those who are thankful are not just coming to church, they are coming with a heart of thanksgiving and praise for his holy name.