Summary: A 2-step formula to help us realize an attitude of gratitude.
The Pilgrims didn’t have too much of anything, did they? They had no transportation, they had no indoor plumbing, and they didn’t even have nice homes. Yet they saw reasons to give thanks to God for the many blessings they did have.
What were some of the blessings He gave to the Pilgrims? Well, for starters, God let them get to America safely and He gave them the wisdom to know what they had to do and the courage do it.
A woman went to an art gallery to find a couple of pictures for her newly decorated home, and she took her 10-year old daughter with her. While the mother was busy looking, the daughter went off by herself to look at a few of the paintings.
A few moments later, the mother saw the daughter staring at a painting of an old man sitting at a small table; hands clasped in prayer with a single loaf of bread in front of him. It was obvious the girl didn’t understand what the painting meant.
She asked the mother, “Why is he praying? He only has bread but doesn’t have anything else to go with it.” Whereas the mother explained that he was giving thanks because he had the bread, which is more than some people have.
And that shows what we all tend to do. In the middle of abundance, we concentrate on the lack. Maybe that seems to be an unfair statement, but I believe that we spend too much time thinking that we could be happier “if”: "If" we had some of this, or "if" we had more of that.
When we see somebody with some very good blessing in their life, don’t we sometimes have a tendency to be a little jealous? We know that we are just as good a person as they are, and sometimes we are even better, aren’t we? So why do they have it and we don’t? That is how children react, and maybe that is why we are called God’s children, I don’t know.
On Thanksgiving Day, we will all offer up thanks, but will we be thankful? This morning, I am going to give to you a 2-step formula for Thankfulness. I hope we can all find ways to apply this formula to our lives.
STEP # 1 - START SEEING GOD CLEARLY
Charles Spurgeon once said:
"Plunge yourself in God’s deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.”
And, in deep humility, he continues.
“I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the trials, as much as thinking upon the subject of our God."
One thing all of us need to do is spend more time thinking about God; considering His many attributes and considerable love that He has for us.
In PSALM 145, we see some of God’s characteristics. In talks of His greatness in verse 3,
‘Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.’
And certainly, nobody can understand just how great our Lord is. He is great beyond any human description or comprehension.
In verse 4 we read,
‘One generation will commend Your works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts.’
Verse 5 reads,
‘They will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works.’
In verse 6, it says,
‘They will tell of the power of Your awesome works, and I will proclaim Your great deeds.’
Two things jump out at me as I read these four verses. The first thing is that one generation will tell another. That means that God’s Truth will never be stopped. It will continue until the very last generation.
The second is that God is so much more than we can even understand. He is worthy of our praise; He has mighty acts; glorious splendor of majesty; He has wonderful works that need to be pondered and focused on; and He has powerfully awesome works that need to be proclaimed forth from every single Christian.
“What a Mighty God He is” are words that are sung by Christians all over this country, and sometimes I think most of us just get busy and skim over those words without really taking the time to realize just how mighty He is.
In verse 7, it continues,
‘They will celebrate your abundant goodness, and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.’
Verse 8 is a verse I love to read repeatedly.
‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.’
In verse 7, we learn to celebrate God’s goodness which is in great abundance, and to do so while joyfully singing of His righteousness – or His rightness. And in verse 8, we are drawn to focus on His grace and compassion, which in His loving mercy makes Him slow to anger, but love in excess.