Summary: Thanksgiving Sermon
Title- Thankful Living
I. Thinking Thankfully
c. Dwelling on the good
II. Talking Thankfully
a. Praising others
b. Praising God
c. Sharing our gratitude
III. Acting Thankfully
There is a tradition here at Calvary of talking time on the week before Thanksgiving to corporately share some of the things we are thankful for with each other. I think this might have actually been a part of our harvest home dinner, but that meal has gotten too big to do open sharing. So I thought we would make that a part of our worship service today.
I want to share a few thoughts about thanksgiving from God’s word first. Spend the next few minutes thinking about what you are thankful for so that you can share it with us when the time comes.
I really think that taking time to openly share with one another what we are thankful for is a great thing to do. Verbally, corporately, declaring what we are grateful for is a very biblical thing to do.
Today I want to talk about what it means to live a life of thanksgiving. How can we take this annual holiday and turn it into a constant attitude? How can we live a life of gratitude and praise?
I’m going to steal a little from the youth mission statement. Their mission statement is to honor God in all we do, say and think. Today I am going to talk about being grateful in all we do, say and think. I want to start by talking about what it means to think thankfully.
Gratitude starts with our thought life. It begins with taking captive our every thought. It grows out of an attitude of appreciation, humility, and proper perspective. One of the best biblical descriptions of how thankfulness needs to be infused into our character is in Colossians 3:12-17…
Colossians 3:12-17 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It’s clear from this passage that thankfulness is supposed to be a regular part of our lives. I believe that gratefulness is emphasized here because it is the perfect antidote to pride and selfishness and a host of other sins.
After all, what is the opposite of thankfulness? Things like, complaining, arguing, selfishness, a sense of entitlement. Our sin nature wants to try and convince us that we deserve more, that we are in the right, that we have been taken advantage of, or that we really have it bad.
I have to admit, I have a low tolerance for that kind of mentality. I’ve ran across a few people in my life who always seem to be victims, they always seem to feel like they should get more, they always complain about what they have or what they are given. That’s not what we are supposed to be like as believers.
Thinking thankfully involves three things- First, prayer.
Philippians 4:6 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
In this passage the way in which we keep from anxiousness and worry is through prayer. When we present our requests to God, and give control over to Him, our load gets a lot lighter. When we pray with thanksgiving we are thanking God for the ability to pray, we are thanking him for answering our prayers, we are thanking Him for freeing us from worry.
When we pray with thankfulness to God it has a way of adjusting our thinking so that it falls in line with what God wants.
Worship also has a way of putting us in a mindset of thankfulness. Verse 16 of that passage in Colossians is a great example of that. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.