Summary: This sermon incorporates the story of a man whose attitude was poor. It helps us examine our attitude as we approach the day of Thanksgiving.

"A Proper Attitude About Thanksgiving"

HEBREWS 13:5-15

[5] Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

[6] So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

[7] Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

[8] Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

[10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

[11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

[12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

[13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

[14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

[15] By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Joe Barton went to a revival

at a little Church located out in the country.

Believe it or not...that old preacher

preached a message of close to an hour.

Several people responded to the altar call.

By the time the revival service was dismissed...

it was past 10:00.

Well...Joe got in his car and headed home...

over the river and through the woods...

It was a dark night...

and Joe didn’t enjoy driving on those country roads.

Then it happened!

He had a flat tire.

Joe thought, "Great! This is just what I wanted!"

But there was nothing to do but get out,

change the tire

and drive on home.

So...Joe got out...opened the trunk...

found the little car jack...

and started to jack the car up.

But he discovered that his car jack was defective.

Every time the jack started to lift the car...

it would slip off the track.

"Oh, this is wonderful! This is just what I needed!"

Joe began to think of all the problems

that flat tire had created.

Though he had been perfectly happy up to that moment,

he quickly became irritated and angry.

He slipped into a dismal mood and frame of mind.

Too bad Joe didn’t remember what the preacher had said.

That old windy Baptist minister had mentioned:

Proverbs 23:7 says,

"For as he thinks within himself, so he is." .

Just like our friend Joe Barton with the flat tire,

sometimes we can think ourselves

into a condition of worry, anger, sadness, and depression.

Fortunately we can also think our selves

into a state of happiness, peacefulness and thankfulness.

That’s what we need to do, isn’t it?

Think our selves thankful.

Here’s how to do that:

Lesson #1

THINK ABOUT CONTENTMENT:

Verse 5:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

That’s what Paul did in prison.

Philippians 4:11.

"Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

Paul learned contentment.

He wasn’t just naturally contented!

Paul focused his mind on being content.

· Let’s think about that word: Contentment

· You can learn to be content.

We learn it when we quit counting complaints

and start counting blessings instead.

· Contentment means being satisfied

with what we have.

It’s the opposite of whining

for what we don’t have.

· Contentment is a sense of peacefulness.

It’s not based on external possessions,

how we are being treated,

or the circumstances we find ourselves in.

· Contentment is essential to gratitude:

Discontent people whine and find fault.

But content people are satisfied.

· Remember the people of Israel

wandering in the wilderness

during the exodus from Egypt:

· Numbers 11:4-6

"And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, ’Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.’"

· Numbers 14:2-3

"And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, ’Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! And why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’"

· Exodus 17:1-3

"Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, ’Give us water that we may drink.’ And Moses said to them, ’Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, ’Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’"

· I wrote a song for them.

"Come, Ye Thankless People Come!

Raise the Sound of Griping Home!

We aren’t safely gathered in

and the Howling Storms begin.

God, our Maker, won’t provide

for our wants to be supplied;

Come to God and grumble, come,

raise the Sound of Griping Home!"

· Friends...count your blessings.

· Don’t keep count of your troubles.

· Be thankful to God, and bless His Name."

As Joe Barton griped about his situation,

he remembered that he had passed a farmhouse

just a couple of miles back up the road.

He was sure that a farmer would have a jack.

So he set out walking back up the dark country road.

Surely he would find some help.

In life, when things go wrong

and circumstances seem so overwhelming,

there always has been,

and always will be,

a source of help.

So, for thinking that produces thanking,

what do we need to do?

Lesson #2

THINK ABOUT THE SOURCE

OF YOUR BLESSINGS:

Verse 6:

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

· When something good happens in your life,

who....or what...gets the credit?

· Luck or chance?

· Self effort or self achievement?

"I did this!

I got this!"

The Bible discourages that kind of thinking:

1 Corinthians 4:7.

"For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"

· The Bible makes it clear

· James 1:17

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow."

· Job 1:21

"And he said, ’Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’"

· Do you know the #1 Reason

why some people are not saved?

Romans 1:21.

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Unsaved people have never learned to be thankful

for all that God has given to them.

Does God bless unsaved people?

Sure He does!

Matthew 5:45 says:

“...for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Getting a thankful heart

is one of the first steps to getting saved!

· But here’s the attitude of the lost sinner”

He didn’t bless me, why should I thank Him?

God hasn’t given me anything!

I earned it all by my brains and skills.

Why should I humble myself before Him?

On the other hand...the Saved person says:

· God has richly blessed me!

· Let me thank Him with all my heart!

· He has blessed me in the past!

· He is blessing me now!

· And God will bless me in the future.

· God has blessed me in every aspect of life:

physically,

mentally,

socially,

and spiritually.

Illustration:

Dr. Warren was just beginning his practice

in a small town near Evansville.

Dr. Warren was a Christian.

He had a kind heart.

He vowed to help the poor

by providing medical attention at a low cost

or even free, if necessary.

His first patient was a young mother.

She didn’t seem to be responding to his treatment

so he went to her home.

He discovered that she hadn’t bought the medicine

which he had prescribed.

She didn’t have the money to fill his prescription.

So, Dr. Warren took out some money,

gave it to her

and told her to get the medicine.

A week later

Dr. Warren went back to check on his patient.

The daughter answered the door.

She said,

"You won’t have to see my mommy today.

She’s well now.

She took the money you gave her

and went to see a better doctor in Evansville."

I suspect that Dr. Warren felt the same ungratefulness

which the Great Physician must feel at times.

Joe Barton continued walking back toward the farmhouse.

As he walked he started thinking to himself:

"I"m a stranger here.

Nobody will want to loan me a jack.

Maybe I ought to offer a $5 deposit.

Well, $5 would hardly cover a jack.

That farmer will probably want $10 or $20.

In fact, he probably won"t even want to loan me a jack.

Maybe I"ll have to offer to buy it.

How much does a jack cost, anyhow?

I"d guess around $40."

Joe kept muttering to himself as he walked along.

Then he said,

"Man, it"s getting late.

Farmers go to bed with the chickens.

He"ll be mad because I woke him up.

He"ll probably want $100 for the jack."

When Joe got to the farmhouse, it was late.

There were no lights on in the house.

They’d obviously all gone to bed.

But by this time he had worked himself up so much

that he picked up a handful of rocks

and threw it at a bedroom window.

Crash! The window was broken out!

Then the porch light came on!

A man wearing long underwear appeared at the door.

And while standing in the yard...

Joe hollered at the sleepy farmer,

"$100 for a car jack is highway robbery.

You can just keep the stupid thing!"

You see how the way Joe was thinking

produced a spirit of anger?

He thought thoughts that led to discontentment.

When he got to the farmhouse

he had anything but a grateful attitude.

And then he expressed that frustration

to a much confused farmer.

There is a better way.

For thinking that produces thanking, let us:

Point 3

THINK ABOUT EXPRESSING THANKS:

Verse 15:

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

· We express many things, almost automatically:

We express love and affection to our children

and other family members.

We express anger when someone

hurts someone we love.

We express frustration

when things don’t go the way we want them to.

We express opinions on everything from politics to sports.

· We express compliments:

"That was a great dinner, Honey!"

or "You look really nice!"

Why are we so reluctant to express our thanks?

We may or may not "feel" grateful.

But feeling “thankful” isn’t what God asks.

· Ephesians 5:20.

"always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;"

· 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

"in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Illustration:

A little girl received a special gift from her Uncle Jack

She ran to show it to her mother.

Her mother asked, "Did you tell him ’Thank you?’"

The little girl said, "Oh, Mommy, I was so excited,

I just didn’t think about telling him."

· Some people just don’t think to express thanks!

ILLUSTRATION:

An old farmer was invited

to a rich relative’s place for dinner.

He bowed his head and expressed thanks.

His rich relative said, "That’s old fashioned.

Nowadays people don’t pray before they eat."

The farmer said, "Well, there are some at my farm

who don’t give thanks before they eat."

The relative asked, "Are they your sons?"

The farmer said, "Nope! They’re my pigs."

What did that farmer do when Joe Barton yelled at him?

He told Joe to wait a minute,

He got dressed...

and then took him back to fix the flat.

That’s how it is with God, too.

We sometimes express everything but thanks,

and He goes on blessing us in spite of it!

Let’s learn to think thoughts that produce thanks.

It is God’s will that we be thankful.

It is appropriate to be thankful.

It puts life in a positive perspective when we are thankful.

God wants our Thanksgiving.

The Bible says,

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations."

Note this:

"Serve the Lord with gladness;"

You can decide today to commit yourself to serve Him.

You can choose today to live for Jesus

a life that is true, faithful, productive, and grateful.

Think about that --

and then let that thinking produce thanking

which shows itself in glad service, living for Jesus.