Summary: We can put the thanks in Thanksgiving. Here’s how.
Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Nov. 30, 2008
*Well, we made it through Thanksgiving -- and the day after. But are you really thankful? Are you as thankful today as you want to be -- as you ought to be?
-I have a wonderful truth to share with you from God’s Word: We can put the thanks in Thanksgiving. Here’s how:
1. First, depend on God’s super-abundant supply.
*In vs. 8-11 Paul gives a glowing testimony about God’s infinite ability to supply all of our needs:
8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.
9. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness remains forever.’’
10. Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
11. while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
*We really can depend on God’s super-abundant supply! If anybody in the world should know this -- we should know this, because God has been so good to us. I know we are going through an economic downturn, but King Duncan reminds us that we have so much. We have so much!
*A visitor from a very poor country came to the United States. As he was riding through a subdivision, he noticed a car backing out of the garage and he said with amazement, “You even have houses for your cars!” (1)
*We have so much! Dr. Samuel Zumwalt tells about one of his friends who was a recovering alcoholic. When this friend went on a mission trip to Honduras, her whole view of the world shifted. She told Dr. Zumwalt, “I’ve always felt poor since I lost my big four bedroom house in a divorce. Then I came to Honduras and saw how the victims of Hurricane Mitch were thrilled to have these two-room houses that we were building there.” She said, “I came back to my 600 square foot condo and saw that I live in a palace compared to them. I’m rich, and I never knew it until I went to Honduras.” (2)
*We have so much -- and all of it came from God’s super-abundant supply. We should know that we can depend on God. And knowing that makes us thankful for the good things He gives to us. Ron Stone says: “Giving thanks is an expression of faith in a God who supplies our needs. If you are not inclined to give thanks for something, it is an indication that you do not recognize God as the supplier of that thing.
*If you are looking for something to give thanks for, begin by realizing that everything you own and everything you enjoy, and everything you use including your own body and mind . . . it all belongs to the Lord and He is letting you enjoy it. There is nothing we can name that does not belong to the Lord, because God created everything, He owns everything. As Psalm 24:1 in the NIV says: ‘The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’” (3)
*James 1:17 tells us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. . .” The more we realize that we can depend on God, and that we must depend on God -- the more thankful we will be to God for being so good to us.
2. We can put the thanks in Thanksgiving by depending on God’s supply, and by demonstrating the work of the gospel in our lives.
*God wants us to demonstrate the work of the gospel in our lives.
-He wants us to let people see the new life we have in Jesus Christ.
-God wants us to let people see Jesus living in us, and one of the ways we can do this is by being generous in giving to other people.
*One of the great results of our giving is that thanksgiving to God will be greatly multiplied. This is the point Paul makes to believers in vs. 11-13. Listen to these verses adapted from the New Living Translation:
11. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.
12. So two good things will happen -- the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanksgiving to God.