Summary: Four keywords describe why we as Christians we give thanks to our incredible God.

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Thanksgiving Day 2000 Sermon

Reasons to give thanks.

BY Andrew Chan, Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Baptist, Vancouver, BC

Text: Deut.16:13-17

One day Bill was hunting in the woods. It had been a slow day and he had yet to shoot any game. Suddenly, he heard a noise behind him. He whirled around and saw a ferocious mountain lion only 20 yards away. Bill quickly raised his rifle to his shoulder, took aim and pulled the trigger. Click. The rifle didn’t fire. Click… click… click. Again, nothing - the gun was malfunctioning. By this time, the mountain lion had started toward Bill. In desperation, he threw down his rifle and ran.

Faster and faster he ran, with the mountain lion chasing him. The faster Bill ran, the more the mountain lion gained on him Finally Bill came to the edge of a cliff. There was nowhere to go, so he dropped to his knees and began to pray. “O Lord, I pray that this mountain lion is a Christian.”

As Bill looked up, he was surprised to see the mountain lion kneeling just a few feet away, praying, “Dear Lord, I pray that you’ll bless this food that I’m about to partake to the nourishment of my body…”

Thanksgiving is about the harvest… after a summer’s worth of work and waiting … the harvest is finally gathered and it is a celebration of the bounty that God has given. Credit belongs to God for the harvest in recognition of the fact that without His blessing we would receive no harvest. So the text my mind goes to is to Deuteronomy 16. Tells the command to celebrate the feast of weeks aka Feast of Harvest (Ex.23:16). Feast of Tabernacles which is called feast of the Ingathering, which more appropriate for the time of the year (Sept.-Oct.)

Context tells of 3 feast to be celebrated, not one, not two, but three…

When something is repeated 3 times in Scripture it is there for a reason. What would the reason be? What is God saying through these 3 feasts? Why is he so adamant for the Israelites to carry it out? (16:16) MUST appear!! Three times a year…

Kathy Hamm told this story:

For a thanksgiving assignment, my cousin’s daughter, who is in Grade 1 was to draw something she was thankful for. When the teacher collected the drawings, she saw that Rachel’s paper was blank. When asked why, Rachel replied “I want to draw a picture of God, but He was too big to fit on the page.”

I think that is perhaps why the author of Deut was inspired to write down, this stipulations to have these feasts. Draw a picture of God, and the inference is that God is so big, you just can’t celebrate what He did just once, got to be at least 3 times, a year. What God did is so awesome, so big, can’t fit it all on one page or in one celebration a year. Context suggest what tremendous thing God did fulfilling promises and giving of land (Deut 1:8). No longer live in tents BUT have a home.

Dreams fulfilled before your eyes. So God kept His word, God moved powerfully and wonderfully (Deut.7:7-9).

Keyword #1 Celebrate. (V.10,11,13,14,15)

If our memory ever fails with regards to why we should remember to give thanks, remember this God loves a celebration.

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