Summary: WE must become living sacrifices. Our life should be one sacrifice of Thanksgiving after another.
Living with Thanksgiving
What Do You Think of When You Think of Thanksgiving?
Eating, Football, Long Weekend, Shopping, History, or Family? Thanksgiving is much more than any of this. True thanksgiving is not just a day for food, football, and family. It’s not just a holiday every fourth Thursday in November. For God’s people, everyday ought to be Thanksgiving Day!
Thanksgiving Day is a distinctive holiday. It doesn’t commemorate a battle or anyone’s birthday. It is simply a day set aside to express our thanks to God. Did you know that in 1789, George Washington made a public proclamation saying that, “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor?” He recommended and assigned Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 to be a day of Thanksgiving.
Of course most of know the story of the pilgrims and how they and the Indians of the area had a Thanksgiving feast in 1621 – long before Washington’s proclamation.
Even earlier than 1621 – we find people offering up thanks to God. In the Old Testament we find a Song of Thanksgiving. It is Psalm 100. It is subtitled “A Psalm of Thanksgiving”. It is an invitation to join together to acknowledge the great things that God has done. Not only does Psalm 100 call us to praise the Lord with thankfulness – but it also describes to us the nature of thanksgiving
In this Psalm I find five key words that describe the essence of thanksgiving. The first word is:
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
We don’t have problems shouting at a football game, but we very seldom raise our voice in church. I remember a few years ago when some of you got shook up here in church. I was preaching along and the Spirit of God was extremely powerful that day. One gentleman was so moved that morning that he let out a shout. He just yelled out in the middle of the service. It shook some of you up. Good! Our lives are meant to be a joyful call to God. God wants us to get excited about who He is.
Just this past week I saw the film clip of the victory celebration in New York City when World War II ended. That celebration was a shout of praise. The war was over – the victory had been won. I also saw a celebration as the New York Yankees paraded down the Canyon of Champions, we do know how to celebrate. We need to shout praises to God –we have read the end of the Book – we know who wins the war – we know who has victory – Praise be to God on high! We need to shout joyfully because God has won the victory. We need to be filled with joy and shout about it.
The Second Key is:
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Worship is not a one day a week event, we need to worship God daily. It is a sacrifice, an offering of Joyful songs. Not just about music, it is about an attitude. There are times when people come to church on Sunday morning worship almost like they are coming to a funeral service. I’ll tell you the truth – we need to come in here on Sunday morning like we are coming into a resurrection service. Our Lord has risen from the dead. we need to celebrate that fact.
We know how to be glad, we know how to celebrate, and we know how to be thankful when things are going well. What about when they aren’t? What about being thankful and worshipful when things are going bad or when it seems like we are losing. In the movie “Facing the Giants” the coach’s wife comes out of her doctor’s office, receiving news she was not pregnant, even when she wanted so badly to be pregnant. She says “Lord I will love you, no matter what.” Do we have that attitude?
The third key is:
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Sheep depend on the Shepherd. In this verse we see three attributes of God. He is GOD, He is Creator, and He is Shepherd.
David understood this when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. When we learn that God is in control and we need him, our attitude changes for the better. The problem is we get tired of waiting. Could you imagine sheep telling a shepherd, okay where’s the pasture? How about “we are tired bring the food and water to us?”