Summary: Psalm 9 is David’s psalm of thanksgiving; in it, David not only says, “Thank you, Lord,” but he hints at three ways in which we can live a life of thanksgiving every day: by witnessing, worshiping, and waiting on the Lord! This sermon is expository, allit
Thanksgiving Every Day (2)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 11/27/2011
Last Sunday, I talked about the importance of Thanksgiving—how Thanksgiving is more than just annual celebration; rather, it’s an attitude of the heart. God wants us to live as if it were Thanksgiving every day. In fact, the Bible says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT).
Viktor Fankl knew how to give thanks in all circumstances.
Among the lesson’s Viktor learned in the Nazi death-camp, Auschwitz, was the importance of gratitude and counting your blessings. He wrote that prisoners in the camp dreamed at night about a certain set of things more than anything else: bread, cakes, and warm baths—the very things we take for granted every day. Frankl said that the prisoners around him began to appreciate beauty as never before. In one especially poignant paragraph, he wrote:
“If someone had seen our faces on the journey from Auschwitz to a Bavarian camp as we beheld the mountains of Salzburg with their summits glowing in the sunset, through the little barred windows of our prison carriage, he would never have believed that those were the faces of men who had given up all hope of life and liberty. Despite that factor—or maybe because of it—we were carried away by nature’s beauty, which we had missed for so long.” (Nelson 734)
How amazing is it that a people who experienced such pain and loss could be so thankful and appreciative of such small blessings!? It’s even more amazing to me that we seem to exhibit a degree of thankfulness in life in reverse proportion to the amount of blessings we’ve received. I mentioned before that Martian Luther wrote, “The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it another way; he once observed that if the constellations appeared only once in a thousand years, imagine what an exciting event it would be. But because they are there every night, we barely give them a look.
I believe that one of the evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is a gradual reversal of that twisted pattern. God wants to make us people who exhibit thankfulness in proper proportion to the gifts and blessings we’ve received. But thankfulness is more than just a sermon, a prayer, or even a feeling—it’s a way of life!
So, as I promised last Sunday, I’d like to share some practical ways that you and I can exhibit an attitude of gratitude. How do we demonstrate our thankfulness to God for his goodness and the love he has for us? Well, I think that King David has some insights to share with us on that subject.
Psalm 9 is David’s psalm of thanksgiving. If you have a Bible, go ahead and open it to that passage, as I’ll keep referring back to it. In David’s psalm of thanksgiving, he not only says, “thank you, Lord,” but he hints at three ways in which we can live a life of thanksgiving every day. First, David teaches us that thankfulness is expressed through witnessing every day!
David begins Psalm 9 with these words: “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders” (Psalm 9:1 NASB). David had a lot to be thankful for. He had been on the run, surrounded by his enemies, but through it all God kept him safe. So David wasn’t going to keep his thankfulness between himself and God. He wanted to shout it from the mountain tops. He was going to tell everyone he knew about the great things God had done for him.
Last week I read about this medical missionary who served in India for several years. Among the common conditions that he treated there was progressive blindness. For some reason, the people of that region would be born with healthy vision, but for many of them their sight deteriorated over time until they were blind. The missionary provided a simple treatment that would prevent the progressive blindness from getting any worse. The people he treated were tremendously grateful, but they never said thank you. They actually didn’t have a word in their language for thanks. Rather, whenever they wanted to express their gratitude, they would speak a word that when translated means “I will tell you name.” And they would. Wherever they went they would tell the name of the missionary who had healed their eyes. They were so thankful, they eagerly proclaimed it.
When was the last time you stopped someone to tell them what God has done for you? If we are truly grateful and thankful in our lives, then we will want to “tell of all His wonders.” That’s where evangelism finds its beginning. Someone once said, “I’m just a nobody telling everybody about Somebody who can save anybody” (Nelson 777).