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Summary: "Thanks" is a word we probably don’t say often enough. And being thankful is an attitude we probably don’t have enough. Unfortunately, when Thanksgiving is over we typically move from being thankful to being materialistic when the Christmas shopping seaso

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THANKFULNESS

INTRODUCTION: Rudyard Kipling was one of the few old writers who had opportunity to enjoy his success while he lived. One time a newspaper reporter came up to him and said, "Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over a hundred dollars a word. Mr. Kipling raised his eyebrows and said, "Really, I wasn’t aware of that." The reporter cynically reached down into his pocket and pulled out a one hundred dollar bill and gave it to Kipling and said, "Here’s a hundred dollar bill, Mr. Kipling. Now, you give me one of your hundred dollar words." Kipling looked at the hundred dollar bill for a moment, took it and folded it up and put it in his pocket and said, "Thanks." It’s true, ‘Thanks’ is a hundred dollar word. It’s a word we probably don’t say often enough. And being thankful is an attitude we probably don’t have enough. Unfortunately, now that Thanksgiving is over we typically move from being thankful to being materialistic as the Christmas season is now upon us. But the attitude of thankfulness shouldn’t be discarded as soon as Black Friday rolls around. Let’s see how we can always have a continual attitude of thanksgiving.

1) How can we tell if we’re not thankful?

• We’re complainers. Something is always too this or this is too that’. “This isn’t good enough; that’s not good enough.” “This person’s doing this wrong and that person’s doing this badly.” “I hate my job; I hate this place; I hate these people-but I love Jesus!” You think there might be a contradiction there? Some people are so bad they find something to complain about in everything; even when something good happens. “Oh, wow, you got an unexpected card with $50.00 in it? That’s great; what a blessing.” “Yeah, well, it would’ve been nice if they had broken it down instead of giving me a fifty dollar bill.” Instead of being thankful, we nitpick and criticize everything to death. Eph. 5:19-20. If we would have a song in our heart that came out our mouth in encouragement toward one another, then we would be people who are always giving thanks to God for everything. But if we’re not thankful then what’s coming out of our mouths is not music; it’s poison. Being a complainer drags people down; it’s draining to the soul. Phil. 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” What a concept!

• We’re never satisfied. Prov. 27:20, “Death and destruction are never satisfied and neither are the eyes of man.” This is talking about being insatiable. Nothing is ever enough. No matter what someone does for us we have the attitude of, ‘what have you done for me lately’. Therefore, since we’re never satisfied we find ourselves to be a people who are expectant and demanding of others. Yet no matter how many times we get what we want we are still not satisfied. The problem isn’t that we’re not getting enough; it’s that we’re not thankful for what we already have. In this attitude we’re pessimistic and negative. We are discontent and miserable. If we are this type of person, then we are thankless.

2) How can we tell if we are truly thankful?

• We’re thankful in all circumstances. 1st Thess. 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul didn’t say to give thanks “for” all circumstances, but “in” all circumstances. All our circumstances in life are not good, but there will always be something in those circumstances for which to give thanks. Why is it God’s will that we be thankful in all circumstances? Being thankful in all circumstances allows us to see the blessing in the hardships. We will be able to endure and persevere through anything if we can be thankful even in the trying times of our lives. This is why we can be joyful always. Having an attitude of thanksgiving in any circumstance allows us to be joyful always. Giving thanks in all situations means I see things in the proper perspective. “I am Thankful for: the taxes I pay because it means I’m employed; the sink full of dirty dishes because it means I have plenty to eat; the laundry basket that’s overflowing because it means I have clothes to wear; a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home; the spot at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking; my heating bill because it means I am warm; waking up to the alarm that goes off in the morning because it means I’m alive; the weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I’ve been productive.” Being thankful in all circumstances involves me seeing the positives and it’s about being able to put things in perspective. When we’re thankful in all circumstances we are content. In verse 17 Paul says to pray continually. This too is included in being thankful. Phil. 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Someone once said, “It’s impossible to be anxious and thankful at the same time”. If we go to the Lord with thanksgiving, then our prayers will be in an attitude of reverence and humility rather than selfishness and pride. I’ll be praying continually not because I always want something from God but because I’m blessed already. I’m thankful because of what I’ve already received; from what he’s already done for me.

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