Summary: This sermon is about thanking God all the time and not just at Thanksgiving.
THANK YOU GOD
(This sermon is preceded by the Thanksgiving video by the Skit Guys.)
Well, it’s that time again. Time for the celebration of Thanksgiving.
As I was working on this week’s sermon I was busy thinking about all the things that will happen this Thursday. You see, around our family there are all these traditions that go on. Maybe you’ve got some of them in your family too. The Thanksgiving holiday always seems to be so busy.
The morning will start as it usually does with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, sausage balls, and cinnamon rolls. Then there will be the cooking prior to going to the home of whoever is hosting this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. There are football games, card games, picture taking, and lots of noise as loved ones gather. After everyone is stuffed chances are good the guys will go pheasant hunting. All of it will wind down into more cards and leftovers heated in the microwave.
The truth of the matter is though that there may be too much going on to be very thankful. There may just be too many activities going on. There is so much constant noise that finding a moment to be thankful is very rare. Often it is forgotten about.
Your lives are probably like that too. You have a lot going on. There is probably some form of noise in the background in your lives. Sporting events, CDs, records, tapes, and radio. The television may be on as you’re doing something else. The phone rings and there are conversations to be had. Family comes to visit and more noise takes place.
But we’re reminded that we need to have a time of Thanksgiving.
The first Thanksgiving in the United States occurred back in the year 1623, three years after the pilgrims landed at Plymouth.
Governor Bradford sent out this proclamation:
To all ye pilgrims,
Inasmuch as the Great Father has given us this year as abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the raids 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 ye 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 the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
As they have passed the three year mark since landing in this place, in this new land, they are reminded that they need to give thanks in everything.
I’d like you to turn in your Bibles to Philippians Chapter 4. We’re going to spend some time today taking a few minutes just to be reminded that we need to be giving thanks. The Apostle Paul was great at giving thanks and reminding others to give thanks to God as well.
So beginning in Verse 4 we read, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
From Paul we can find some great lessons in giving thanks.
In fact the word rejoice means to give thanks. It means to lift up praise. It means to express joy.
And Paul is telling us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Our thanks should be always. Our thanks should be all the time. We should always be giving thanks.
This isn’t the only place that Paul says this. In fact over in Ephesians 5:19 – 20 it says this, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”