Summary: A Sermon for Thanksgiving
SOWING SEEDS OF THANKSGIVING
Beginning a sermon on Thanksgiving is much more difficult than it looks.
This is not unsual, in that most holidays are difficult to prepare for.
There are only certain passages that deal with Christmas and Easter for example.
Thanksgiving is different from most of the traditional Christian holidays in that there are several passages dealing with giving thanks, but the central theme is the same for all of them, giving thanks.
There is nothing new about giving thanks, except maybe giving thanks.
The essential questions are still the same.
What have we got to give thanks for?
Do we give proper thanks to God, or just pay him lip service as we get ready for a turkey dinner and a football game.
When you stop to think about it we do have a lot to be thankful for.
Think about the following situations:
1. The constant fears of a coal minor’s family. While a minister was preaching a note was passed to the chairman of the deacon’s board. He glanced over the congregation and went to the pew where the woman was and passed the note down the long pew through several hands. The heartbeats of the entire congregation quickened as the note came closer to the woman. Her face was white as she received it. You could cut the tension with a knife, as so many times these notes carried news of tragedy in the mines. She opened it, read it and relaxed, and so did everyone in the church.
The coal minor’s families always lived with the terror of injury and death for their loved ones--that the world might have coal.
2. The dangers for a power lineman. Last year there was a story on the news about a lineman who was electrocuted and lost his life. There are people who put their lives in danger, just so we can turn the lights on in our homes, in our businesses, and in our churches.
3. We are looking at the possibility of a natural gas line for the Maritimes. What of the dangers for a Gas plant mechanic. Once the line is in or even in its construction, you could read headlines about a man who is killed and another permanently injured just bringing natural gas to our homes. These men will put their lives on the line so that we cn have heat in our homes.
4. We need to be grateful to those who are employed in dangerous lines of work on our behalf. Think of the police and firemen who put their lives on the line for us daily.
5. The luxury of natural resources. We have plenty of land, woods, fish and other natural resources. Think of water as I tell you this story of a World War II pilot. He brought many men to Europe from the Sahara desert. They were amazed to see the trees, a rose, but most of all a flowing river. They were amazed when they were shown a waterfall, because to them water was a precious commodity. The guide was ready to move on, but they insisted on waiting. They were waiting for the waterfall to stop. When they returned to the desert, they never mentioned the waterfall. They figured that no one would believe them.
Many times we only think of immediate family and blessings at Thanksgiving.
But as you can see we have much more to be thankful for than just those in our immediate surroundings.
Often these people and blessings are so common to us that they go unnoticed.
Or we begin well but in the end fizzle out.
This was the problem at Corinth as we shall see.
They were giving well to Jerusalem at the beginning, but did not finish well.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 speak about the rewards for giving generously and seeing a project through to its completion.
Paul is sending brothers to the people of Corinth to make sure that they are continuing to give as in the beginning.
Paul had been speaking about their eagerness to the Macedonians, and he wanted to make sure that they were continuing to give generously and zealously should the Macedonians check it out.
Now this was not a selfish type of boasting.
Paul was suggesting look and see what a people committed to the Lord and eager to serve can do when they are determined to do it.
He offered this as an encouragement and a challenge to the Macedonians.
Let me illustrate
Consider yourselves while I make the following statements:
1. The U.I.M. budget is projecting a 10% shortfall this year.
2. Sunday School enrollment is down in all churches in the convention.
3. Membership in the convention has been declining rapidly for the last ten years.