Summary: A small serving with gratitude is more filling than an abundance served with bitterness.
Continuing through the month of November, we will look at the theme of thankfulness. Many things in life can pull us down and it is difficult to maintain an attitude of thankfulness, but with God’s help, we can do it.
There is a story told of two old friends, Bob and Dan, who bumped into one another on the street one day. Bob looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. Dan asked, "What has the world done to you, my old friend?"
Bob said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, my long lost uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars."
"That’s a lot of money" Dan replied.
Bob continued, "Two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars."
"Sounds like you’ve been blessed...” Dan began to say.
"You don’t understand!” Bob interrupted. "Last week a distant
aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her."
Now Dan was confused, "Then, why do you look so glum?"
Bob responded, "This week... NOTHING!"
Lets turn in our Bibles to Luke Chapter 11
Lk 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.
Lk 17:12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance
Lk 17:13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
Lk 17:14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
Lk 17:15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
Lk 17:16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Lk 17:17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?
Lk 17:18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Lk 17:19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
I would think the other nine were likely off celebrating with their families. After all so much had been lost in their lives and God would know they were grateful, wouldn’t He? I am sure the other nine had people to show. People who had stood with them throughout this ordeal and illness and after all God could see them and He knew they were grateful, right? There had been so many public places these men had been shunned away from, now they could do all the things they had been missing and God was with them in their hearts, wasn’t He? All these things are likely true, but still Jesus asked the question, “Where are the other nine?”
Today we will focus on three areas of thankfulness:
Expressing our thankfulness, when we have other things to do.
Expressing our thankfulness, for what we have.
Expressing our thankfulness, when times are tough.
In the movie, “Shenandoah” Jimmy Stewart’s plays the patriarch of a large Southern family, running a successful plantation when the Civil War broke out. His attitude was is one generally expressed by many hard working people at some point in their lives.
Early in the movie the family sat down for dinner, and as they all bowed their heads, this is what Stewart prayed:
’Lord, we cleared this land, we plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it. It wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you just the same anyway for this food we are about to eat. Amen’
Spoken or unspoken, this may be the attitude of far too many hearts, even Christian ones. God provided the dirt, the ability to reason, hence the plow. God provided the weather the previous year that provided the seed and the current summer, which allowed for this years harvest. The truth is that the food we eat the clothes we wear, the very air we breathe, are a gift from God every day, for every man woman or child, saved or unsaved, whether you worked ‘dog-bone hard’ to get it or not. Nothing is strictly ours; nothing."
ii. Expressing our thankfulness, for what we have.
In Matthew chapter 15 we read of the account of Jesus providing lunch for over 4,000 people.
Mt 15:34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
Mt 15:35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Mt 15:36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.
Mt 15:37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.