Summary: Being thankful to God is not just nice, but central to godliness.
1. How much do you have to be rich?
2. In America, many upper middle classed people say 5 million dollars.
3. But almost all of us are really rich by worldwide standards.
4. Craig Groeschel writes:
“Visiting a small settlement in a developing country last year, I was struck by the way one of the villagers shared his knowledge of the world beyond his homeland. Since more than half the world lives on less money than most Americans pay for cable TV, you can only imagine how they might describe us. Many would likely say,
“’There are some people who are so rich, they own a car! It’s not a lot of people, of course. I read it’s only 3 to 5 percent of people in the world who own a car. But some people in the world are so rich, they have two cars! Some of these people even have a house for their cars! It’s called a garage, and it’s like a little house to protect their cars from the elements!
“’You know what else they do? These rich people, they get in their cars, and they drive past twenty or more food places — they call them restaurants — and they’re so rich that they pay other people to make their food and serve it to them! That’s how rich they are.
“’Some of these rich people eat so much food in so many restaurants that they get fat but keep eating more and more. Then they have to go to these places called gyms, and they pay people to help them exercise! That’s how rich they are.
“Some of these rich people have special rooms at home called closets. This little room inside their house is just for their clothes! Nobody sleeps in there — only clothes on hangers and shelves like in a store. Some people are so rich, they even have one big clothes room for the man and one for the woman. So many clothes — some for hot, some for cold, some for work, and some for church. It’s crazy! That’s how rich people live. I’ve never seen that with my own eyes. No, no, no. But I’ve heard about it.’” [Weird]
5. Why is it that we have so much but are still unsatisfied? Unappreciative.
Main Idea: Being thankful to God is not just nice, but central to godliness.
I. Being Grateful To God is a PRIMARY Way to Honor and Love God (Psalm 50:23a)
A. Offering thanks is a REPLACEMENT term for praise and worship
Psalm 50:23a, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me…”
Thankfulness, sacrifice, glorifying God…bundled together…
B. The FOCUS of what we are thankful for is God’s “hesed” (steadfast love)
Psalm 118:29, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Jesus sacrifice on the cross is God’s ultimate expression of hesed (Romans 5:8)
C. He is faithful even to the UNAPPRECIATIVE
Snow storm; a man I know towed a stranger’s car out of a median strip; the guy didn’t even say “thank you,” so he pushed him back in. Aren’t we glad God doesn’t do that?
II. Thankfulness Is A Great REPLACEMENT for Sin (Ephesians 5:4)
Ephesians 5:4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
A. Thankful people CONTROL their mouths more effectively
B. Thankfulness makes us HUMBLE, arrogance makes us speak foolishly
Know-it-alls, boasters, and cynical people might claim to be thankful, but not…
The rude and dirty mouthed people of this world do not have the godly humility that comes from being truly appreciative to God
C. There are introverts and extroverts, God wants us to also be THEOVERTS
III. Expressing Thankfulness to God Needs to Become SECOND Nature (Ephesians 5:20)
A. A regular, frequent HABIT
Ephesians 5:20, “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
The Jewish tradition of reciting blessings (I wrote in Body Builder)
B. Part of our growth AGENDA
Colossians 2:7, “…rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
If you know all the stuff and are solid — but unthankful — you are spiritually defective
1. Developing a thankful spirit begins by contemplating what Jesus did for us in salvation, his indwelling Spirit, his guidance, his acceptance of you despite your sins
2. It requires us to make the effort to be conscious of the blessings around us, not so oblivious or assuming…
3. It requires us to remind ourselves how big God is, and how small we are; how vulnerable we are; how God blesses us, and how so much of life is about blessings
4. In short, being thankful is a discipline, a conviction, and a work of the Spirit. It is directly connected to joy. It heightens our enjoyment of life, and it hones our worship of God.