Summary: A Thanksgiving Message
ONE MAN’S THANKSGIVING
INTRO: ILLUS: THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION Over 300 years ago, William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony, made the following announcement:
TO YE PILGRIMS
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings. (Proclaim, Oct. 1986, page 39).
Thanksgiving is not just a national holiday; it is the heart of Christian worship. In order that the Israelites might understand this, God initiated three annual feasts as reminders: 1. Passover. 2. The Feast of Weeks. 3. The Feast of Tabernacles. Every one of these reminded God’s people of His blessings on them and of their need to express thanksgiving. Grace and gratitude went together. Let’s look at an example out of the Bible. READ TEXT! This passage portrays the typical attitude of people today toward thanksgiving directed to God.
I. THE PICTURE OF GRACE.
Making His way to Jerusalem, Jesus had to pass near the border of Samaria and chanced to meet ten lepers. At that time leprosy was an umbrella term for several ulcerous, contagious diseases and also a "sure sign of sin." The common tragedy of the disease was isolation, reducing most of them to beggars. "No hope” characterized their very existence!
Jesus gave them a strange command: “Go and show yourselves to the priest.” This is somewhat reminiscent of the advice the prophet Elisha gave to Naaman (2 Kings 5:10). In essence, the command was a test of faith.
The amazing fact is, they started without question and, “as they went, they were cleansed” (v. 14). They were cured of the incurable!
II. THE PROBLEM OF THANKLESSNESS.
The scripture reads, “And one of them...turned back” (v. 15). One out of ten and he was a Samaritan! Jesus looked at him and uttered these probing words: “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (v. 17).
Obviously their desire or request for help was more important to them than their gratitude to the one who helped them. How often this takes place in our lives. In addition, these nine accepted God’s gift and forgot the giver. After the cure there was little need for the One who cured. Although God is not vain, He does like to hear thank you. Jeremiah mentions this and so does the Psalmist (Jeremiah 2:32; Psalm 107:2).