Summary: Thankfulness is so much more than a comparison of our own situation to someone else’s. Thankfulness is so much more than having enough food to eat, a nice, warm home to live in, good health, or financial security, because each of those circumstances can b
TITLE: IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS
SCRIPTURE: I THESSALONIANS 5:18
In just a few short days we will gather in this sanctuary and then around the family table in celebration of THANKSGIVING DAY. I have noticed an INTERESTING and DISTURBING trend the past few years, people have begun to refer to Thanksgiving by another name, Hear those around us give another greeting of - HAPPY TURKEY DAY. I have always found this name a bit peculiar. There's a reason—a tragic reason—for the name change. When people sit down before the great feast on Thanksgiving Day, they still sense that they ought to bow their heads and give thanks.
• Yet people today would rather forget God as the Benefactor of their thanks
• They would like to suppress the feeling on Thanksgiving that God deserves their gratitude
• So, they are trying to discard the name Thanksgiving and to forsake the traditions on this holiday which kept God at the center
I can remember raising our children with some of the same principles as my parents raised me and my siblings. Whenever we were out and family or friends would give the kids a piece of candy, we would look at the children and ask them - WHAT DO YOU SAY? They look up and they know the proper response should be to say THANK-YOU. We had to teach our children THANKFULNESS. Most in this room have learned to say thank you to people who helped us along the way - but we have NOT LEARNED THE SECRET OF THANKFULNESS TO GOD.
For me, giving thanks is an acknowledgment that I am not the center of the universe. That certainly is true when I give thanks to God, but it is also true when I am genuinely grateful to another human being or to a group of human beings. To give thanks is to acknowledge that I HAVE RECEIVED SOMETHING I VALUE - and when I thank another person, I recognize that person as being significant. Therefore, I am not the self-sufficient, solitary center of the universe, a realization that seems to escape some people in our contemporary culture.
Why are so many ungrateful to God for His blessings? The fundamental reason is that we are too prosperous. This is not a new issue. Remember with me, after the exodus from Egypt, God told the nation of Israel that He was leading them to a desirable land already prepared for their habitation. It would be a land overflowing with milk and honey - a land filled with strong cities that others had built - and with vineyards and with olive groves that others had planted. So, after occupying the land, they could expect a life of prosperity.
• But God warned them that with prosperity would come the danger of forgetting God
• They would be tempted to look around at their wealth and say to themselves, "By our hands, by our labor, we have achieved this, we have built a good life for ourselves."
• They would take credit for what God had given them
The same mentality exists in America today. Even in the midst of a Recession - We enjoy unprecedented prosperity - and yet we fail to recognize that its source is God.
• We take our wealth for granted
• We feel we deserve it
• We imagine that we created it
• It is a funny thing about human beings we are more thankful when we are suffering poverty than when we are enjoying plenty
Can I say this next thing brothers? -- Thanksgiving is so much more than FOOD and FOOTBALL. Even though thanksgiving is a national holiday originally sanctioned by the federal government; it was set aside to offer thanks to God. I believe our lifestyle and relative comfort has a chilling effect on our Love of God and our gratitude for his blessings.
In everything give thanks. One reason we fail to thank God for blessings is that WE FORGET THEM. What did God do for you YESTERDAY – LAST WEEK – YEAR AGO? Do you even remember? If you do not, how can you be properly thankful? Most of us give God a LAUNDRY LIST OF REQUESTS in the morning. Then, as we go through the day, we more or less forget God and FAIL TO NOTICE how His answers are working themselves out in events. So, when we return to Him the next morning, we just give Him another laundry list of the same kind, consisting of requests without remembering thanksgiving. What is the remedy for this problem?
When we pray – emphasize spiritual requests. Pray for Souls – for their Salvation if they do not know God – for their Growth to Spiritual Maturity if they do know and have a relationship with God. KEEP A RECORD OF GOD’S BLESSINGS. When He does something extraordinary or miraculous, do not pass over it quickly, keeping only a dim memory somewhere in the recesses of your mind. Write it down somewhere, in a notebook perhaps. After you have compiled several stories of His working, these will be very helpful and encouraging to read at difficult moments in your life.