Summary: A basic sermon of Thanksgiving, but was very effective in our church with our people.
O Give Thanks Unto the Lord
November 20, 2011
A PowerPoint presentation to compliment the message is available by emailing me at email@example.com.
TEXT: Psalms 105:1 – “O Give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.”
Illus. – On September 8, 1860, a crowded passenger steamer foundered off the shore of Lake Michigan just above Evanston, Illinois. Edward W. Spencer, a student in Garrett Biblical Institute, saw a woman clinging to some wreckage far out in the breakers. Quickly, he threw off his coat and swam out through the heavy waves, succeeding in getting her back to the land safely. Then sixteen more times that day Spencer braved those fierce waves, single-handedly rescuing seventeen people, after which he collapsed in a delirium of exhaustion.
Ned Spencer slowly recovered from the exposure and exertion of that day, but never completely.
With broken health he lived quietly, unable to enter upon his chosen lifework of the ministry, but exemplifying the teachings of Jesus Christ in his secluded life. He died in California at 81 years of age. In a notice of his death, one paper said that not one of these seventeen rescued people ever came to thank him. (Aquilla Webb, #6591 of 7,700 Illustrations)
Illus. – This reminds me of the story in Luke 17 when ten lepers asked Jesus for healing. He told them to go to the priests, which was the official requirement before a leper was permitted to live among the healthy again. It was on their way to the priests that they received their healing. Of the ten, only one returned to give thanks to Jesus. Jesus asked him, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”
You see, the vast majority of humankind is naturally predisposed to be ungrateful. In fact, it’s at the root of the depravity of mankind. In his description in Romans 1 of the slide of the human race into sin and depravity to show that there is none righteous—no not one—deserving of heaven, Paul begins his argument with these sober words: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him…” (Romans 1:21)
I don’t think we understand how serious ungratefulness to God is. Let’s look at giving of thanks in the Bible this morning.
I. FIRST, NOTICE THAT GIVING OF THANKS IS A GOOD THING.
David said in Psalm 92:1, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.”
Why is it a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord?
• Well, from a SPIRITUAL perspective, it is an acknowledgement that God is the source of all our blessings.
James 1:17 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
And in 1 Timothy 6:17, Paul instructs Timothy to charge the rich not to “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”
How sad that all blessings come from God, yet we’re so unthankful to Him. It is good to give thanks because it reminds us of the source of all our blessings.
• From a PERSONAL perspective, thankfulness is a good thing because it makes a sad heart glad.
When we count our sorrows, we’ll be down and discouraged; but when we count our blessings, we’re reminded that truly our blessings outweigh our sorrows. And thankfulness puts our trials into perspective.
Illus. – As many of you know, little Morgan Lapp, who is seven years old, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. She almost died two weeks ago until she was rushed to the hospital where they diagnosed her illness. Juvenile diabetes is a very serious illness that will affect Morgan for the rest of her life, though it is treatable with careful continuous monitoring of her blood sugar levels. Over the last two weeks Randy and Patricia’s life has been turned upside down with trips back and forth to the hospital, not to mention the dramatic change in lifestyle the whole family has to go through to protect Morgan. Friday I visited Morgan and Trish and the girls in the hospital and several times I told Trish how sorry I was that they had to endure all these difficult trials. But every time I expressed empathy in this way, Trish’s response, “I’m just thankful that Morgan survived. And I’m so thankful that Morgan doesn’t have cancer or something much more serious like that.”
In this life, it’s certain we’ll experience trials and sufferings, but when we have a thankful heart, we’re able to keep trials in perspective.