Summary: This is a good sermon around Thanksgiving time.
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.” One boy wrote, “I’m thankful that I’m not a turkey!”
3. So we can all be thankful that we are not turkeys, for a number of reasons!
B. Let me tell you another quick story.
1. One Sunday before Thanksgiving a preacher told his congregation that the church needed some extra money for the holiday benevolence and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate.
2. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.
3. After the offering plates were passed, the preacher glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 check in offering.
4. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with the congregation and asked Sister Rosie, who wrote the check to come to the front to pick out three hymns.
5. Rosie slowly made her way forward and her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation.
6. She then pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, "I’ll take him and him and him!"
C. Seriously, I think that 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. Ungrateful people are often ungracious people.
6. And, a spirit of gratitude also makes it easier for us to get along with ourselves.
1. “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.”
2. Contentment is almost a lost word or concept in our society, isn’t it?
3. You might say that contentment is unAmerican.
4. 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.
F. But all that changed around the end of the 1800’s.
1. The Industrial Revolution created such efficiencies of scale, and had such an excess of production capacity, that it soon reached a state of crisis: the great factories needed to keep the production lines humming and the generators turning, but there was a huge gap between production and consumption.
2. People reached a point where they had what they thought they needed, and they simply stopped buying.
3. The factory owners were desperate to find some way to change American’s economic habits, to induce them to buy more, so the modern science of ADVERTISING was born.
4. Certainly, there had been advertising before, but it mainly consisted of notices about goods for sale, directed to those who were already interested.
5. Modern advertisers, on the other hand, soon learned how to create needs.
G. In 1901, the Thompson Red Book of Advertising stated, “Advertising aims to teach people that they have wants, which they did not recognize before, and where such wants can be best supplied.
1. Henry Crowell of Quaker Oats noted that his aim in advertising “was to do educational and constructive work so as to awaken an interest in and create a demand for cereals where none existed.”
2. And in the 1920’s the federal government even pitched in: the Department of Commerce was expanded to assist businesses in their goal of increasing consumption.