Summary: Paul asks Christians to give Thanks "always and in everything". A deeper look into the subject reveals that this is an impossibility for mankind.
Thanksgiving – A Gift to enjoy
A man was pushing a pram with a child in the pram. The child was creating trouble and screaming and throwing tantrums. The man who was pushing the pram kept repeating at regular intervals “ Keep cool Andrew.. Keep cool Andrew” A passer by woman was impressed at this duo and could not keep herself from commenting. She bent down and played with the child and said “ Good Boy Andrew.. you have a great dad!!”. The man quickly corrected her. “Madam.. his name is Anthony.. I am Andrew”
If some thing I say today is going to make any of you angry .. remember to say to yourselves.. “Keep cool…”
During the last couple of months I have been watching the financial statement of the BBF and have been disturbed at the ‘not so good’ state of the Tithes and offerings. So when an opportunity was given to me to preach on this Thanksgiving Day, I had made up my mind to preach on Tithing and Giving. I said to myself, what a great opportunity to remind the congregation about our duties to tithe and to give thanks. So I went about collecting material on Tithing and was preparing a great sermon on how it is our duty to tithe and to give generously, what are the good reasons for us to tithe and what are the wrong reasons for us to tithe, how tithing is not just an old testament ritual, how the new testament takes it to the level of sacrificial giving etc etc... And then some thing happened. God kept on speaking to me and questioning me. This is Thanksgiving day and God asked me “ Hey.. are you going to whine about the finances of the church? Have I not been faithful to you and met your needs? Are you Thankful for what you have? Are you thankful for the numerous miracles that surround you? Are you thankful for this congregation and the fellowship that you can enjoy in my name?” God was opening my eyes to some thing that is so basic of all human nature.. but before I get into that let us see a short movie clip.
This clip is taken from the You Tube. This is from one of Conan O’Brien’s talk shows entitled "Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy," with guest comedian Louis C.K. The person speaking is the comedian C K Louis. I have edited to remove some of the non churchy language and to add some subtitled messages and music to the clip. Did you associate yourselves with the comments made on the show? Have we not complained a lot the last time a flight was delayed or the in flight entertainment system failed, or the seat was not going back completely? Do we not complain when our laptops or computers or mobile phones, or internet do not respond within milliseconds.. or; for some youngsters microseconds? Have we not fallen into that category of men and women who think the world owes us some thing that we did not know even existed 10 seconds back?
What is the message here? Is it impossible for human being to be grateful? Let me repeat it . Is it impossible for human beings, by themselves, to be grateful? Is it a basic human nature to be ungrateful, and forget about the goodness that surrounds us? Do we often nurture what I call thanks-killing vices like anger, lust, and greed? The secular world is full of clichés and canned messages like, “look for the silver lining among the dark clouds”, “see the glass half full, and not half empty” “count your blessings” . The secular world is full of successful motivational speakers, and writers. This shows only one thing. Common thanksgiving, or as the editor of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, put it “ Pedestrian Thanksgiving” is itself a difficult task.
How about us Christians? Where does Thanksgiving stand as a Christian Characteristic? Let us read Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” To state the obvious, we become Christians when we receive Jesus Christ, and Paul says when we receive Jesus Christ , we must live in Him, how? Through faith and “overflowing with Thankfulness”. The message bible puts it even more succinctly for me. “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving”. Let your living spill over into thanksgiving. Do you see where this is taking us? The Christian life should begin with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should be a fundamental activity of the church of Christ.