Summary: In this thanksgiving sermon, I asked the question are you truly thankful and thankful for the right things and reasons
Thanksgiving 2006: Are you truly Thankful?
By: Pastor Clinton Browning
Illustration: My daughter has often been caught doing something she not supposed to be doing. Now once confronted with the fact that she is wrong she is generally quick to admit when she is wrong. She is very apologetic and strives to correct the disappointment of her mother or I. Amy’s response a lot of the time is “Are you sorry for what you did or are you sorry you got caught?”
My question this morning is ‘are you truly repentful and ready to turn from your wicked ways?’ ‘Or are you sorry you got caught and you know in your heart you are going to return to what ever sin has truly given you grief this year?’
Now let’s face it this is not your typical Pre-Thanksgiving Sermon, Yes, I agree but you’ll agree that I’m not typical ether so hang on with me.
Turn with me to Luke18: 9 – 14
Some may read The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, or The Pharisee and the Publican. Ether way it is the same a Publican is a tax collector from roman times.
The point of the scripture is repentance, without it you don’t have a chance. There is no way to be truly repentful while bragging to God about all you have done. In this instance the Tax Collector has humbled himself and come before the Lord expressing the fact that he is unworthy to come before the Lord. He truly is repenting for the sins he has committed and is truly thankful for the Grace and Forgiveness he has received. He understands that he has done nothing worthy of the Love and Compassion Christ Showed for us by taking our sins. The Tax Collector is the symbol of the Truly Thankful Christian.
The Pharisee on the other hand, thanking God he is not like everyone else, and then goes on to brag about all he has done for God. This is the non-repentant person that at times we may all have been. Sorry you got caught but glad your sin where not as bad as someone else’s.
Were told in Matthew 6: 5 – 6
5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
The reward we seek is forgiveness, answers to prayer, rest, healing, etc.
The reward the Pharisee seeks is self gratification. Now I’ll admit that I have asked God in the past for a pat on the back and he does so from time to time. But when I stand before him in the setting we find our scripture today, we find the Pharisee looking to justify his sin because at least he is not as bad as the next guy.
We’ve heard this same comment every time we hear someone remark with “It’s not like I killed someone,” or “There’s worse things I could have done.”
That being said I want you to take a minute to contemplate the things we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I came up with a list of my items:
• I’m thankful that even though I have been working non stop for the last three weeks, even though I don’t get Thanksgiving off this year and I’m on duty, even though I have felt bad this last week. At least I have a well respected, decent paying job.
• I’m thankful that I have a house to live in, I have been in many a run down shack by America’s standards, And thought “And I complain because the carpet it’s just like I like it or what ever”
• I’m thankful my children are healthy, I’ve seen so many ill and injured children over the years. I can’t imagine the mothers and fathers trying to face their first Thanksgiving after their child has died from I can’t imagine the mothers and fathers trying to face their first Thanksgiving after their child has died from You fill in the blank disease.
• I’m thankful that both of my parents are alive, still married to each other, not living with me. Close enough to visit, like my wife and kids, the list goes on and on.
• I’m thankful I can attend a church where I have friends that take me in no matter what.
• I’m thankful that God has allowed me to serve as a pastor.
• I’m thankful that God Has allowed me to serve he in Staples Baptist Church.