Summary: Contentment is the key to overcoming consumerism and materialism. Contentment comes from learning to be thankful, thrifty, generous, and focused.
A. I hope that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving Day! We surely did.
1. We all have so much to be thankful for, don’t we?
2. One teacher asked her students to write a composition entitled “What I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving.”
3. One boy wrote, “On Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that I’m not a turkey!”
4. I think we all are thankful that we are not turkeys, for a number of reasons! Right?
B. Unless of course, you are the turkey that is pardoned by the President of the U.S.
1. Isn’t that a strange tradition – the annual presidential turkey pardon?
2. This year’s National Thanksgiving Turkeys, weighing in at 45 and 47 pounds, respectively, were plucked from a flock raised by Butterball turkey farmer Wellie Jackson.
a. The turkeys rode the gravy train to the White House from Clinton, North Carolina, last weekend.
b. Bread and Butter overnighted at the luxe Willard Intercontinental Hotel upon their arrival in the nation’s capital and held a news conference ahead of their trip to the White House.
3. Then on Tuesday of last week, President Donald Trump engaged in the quasi-political tradition of turkey pardoning.
a. Following the tradition of earlier presidents, President Trump spared the lives of both of the turkeys, named Bread and Butter, but he announced an official presidential pardon only for Butter, who was officially designated this year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey.
b. While the President only officially pardoned one bird, both Bread and Butter will avoid the fate of more than 46 million of their turkey brethren who were consumed across the country on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.
c. Following the ceremony, Bread and Butter will retire to Gobbler’s Rest at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
4. Rumors of turkey pardons go back in presidential history as far as the Lincoln administration.
a. Folklore has it that Lincoln’s young son asked his father to spare a pet turkey that was supposed to be part of their Thanksgiving dinner.
5. The first documented turkey pardon was given by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, though it didn’t catch on right away.
a. Turkey pardoning became the norm in the White House in 1989 when President George H.W. Bush revived the tradition, now a staple of the White House holiday season.
b. How’s that for an important history lesson?
7. So, as I said, on Thanksgiving we all can be thankful we are not turkeys for many reasons!
C. Seriously though, I think Thanksgiving is one of the most spiritually healthy holidays of the year.
1. It is not only appropriate for us thank the Lord for all that He has given us, but it is also very good for us to pause and count our blessings.
2. Psalm 92:1 reads, “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord…”
3. An attitude of gratitude is spiritually healthy thing for a number of reasons.
4. First of all, gratitude keeps our spirits right with God.
5. Secondly, a spirit of gratitude makes it easier for us to get along with others.
a. Ungrateful people are often ill-mannered people.
6. And, a spirit of gratitude also makes it easier for us to get along with ourselves.
D. A spirit of gratitude is necessary for every day, but I believe it is especially helpful as we move through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
1. Look with me at a few verses in 1 Timothy 6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
2. What does it take to make you content? Just food and clothing or much more?
3. Contentment is almost a lost word or concept in our society, isn’t it?
4. You might say that contentment is un-American.
5. Contentment goes against the grain of one of the most powerful “religions” in recorded history – the religion of “consumerism.”
E. What do I mean by consumerism?
1. Did you know that there was a time in our history when the major economic goal of Americans was sufficiency?
2. An economic historian named Max Weber points out that before the rise of our present consumer economy; employers had a difficult time financially motivating workers to increase their productivity beyond a certain level.
3. For example, if a farmer offered to pay a hired hand an increase in wage per acre of hay mowed, the worker would mow less, not more acres.
4. The hired hand would work until he made the same amount he ordinarily did, and then quit.
5. In other words, the opportunity of earning more was less attractive than that of working less.