Summary: Today I would like to share with you 3 things we learn about thanksgiving from the Bible. (Powerpoints Available - #368)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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ILL. On Thanksgiving Day the family was seated around the table, preparing to eat their annual holiday meal. Then, from the oldest to the youngest, they were asked to express their thanks.
When it came to the 5-year-old in the family, he began by looking at the turkey & expressing his thanks for it, saying that although he had not tasted it he knew it would be good.
After that rather novel expression of thanksgiving, he began with a more predictable line of credits, thanking his mother for cooking the turkey, & his father for buying it. But then he went beyond that. He joined together a multitude of benefactors involved in their thanksgiving meal.
He said, "I’m thankful for the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey, & for the grocery store people who put it on the shelf. I’m thankful for the farmer who made it fat, & for the man who made the feed.”
In expressing his thankfulness he traced the turkey all the way from its origin to his plate. And then, looking around the table he asked, "Did I leave anybody out?"
His 7-year-old brother, rather sarcastically said, "Yes, God." Solemnly & without being flustered at all, the 5-year-old replied, "I was about to get to Him." (Adapted from Joel Gregory on Sermon Central)
A. Throughout our nation’s history – from George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, & even to this day there have been many thanksgiving proclamations & celebrations.
And all of the early celebrations had one thing in common. Their thanksgiving was directed toward God. Despite some very hard times, the people acknow-ledged that God was their creator & provider, & that all good things ultimately came from Him. And it is in that spirit we gather together this morning & this week.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 the Apostle Paul says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
B. But how can we have this attitude continually? I believe the answer lies in our attitude toward thanksgiving.
To be thankful “in all circumstances” we need a proper perspective of our circumstances & of our relationship with God. And today I would like to share with you 3 things we learn about thanksgiving from the Bible.
I. OUR THANKSGIVING SHOULD BE EXPRESSED
A. First of all, we should not be slow to express our thanksgiving. A chorus we often sing is based on Psalm 100:4 which says, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving & His courts with praise; give thanks to Him & praise His name.”
And David says in Psalm 107:1, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
ILL. It was Thanksgiving Day in the nursing home. The small resident population was gathered about their Thanksgiving table, & the director asked each in turn to express one thing for which they were thankful.
Thanks were expressed for this home in which they could stay, families who loved them, people who came to visit - & on the list went. Then one little lady spoke up & said, “I'm thankful for two perfectly good teeth, one in my upper jaw & one in my lower jaw that match so I can chew my food.” (Adapted from Evie Megginson, Sermon Central)
In Luke, the 17th chapter we read about ten men with leprosy who were healed by Jesus. Of those ten only one came back to thank Him. Because of that Jesus said to him, "Rise & go; your faith has made you whole." (Luke 17:19)
Now why did Jesus say that to him? I mean, like the 9 others, the man had already been healed of his leprosy. But when Jesus says to him, "Your faith has made you whole," He wasn’t just talking about physical healing, he was talking about a mental & spiritual one as well. His life was completely transformed. He was made whole.
We too are made whole by our faith & our thanksgiving. Psychologists tell us that sincere gratitude, thanksgiving, is the healthiest of all human emotions.
B. A thankful heart will endear others to us, & us to others as well. For thanks-giving is not only good for the giver but also good for the receiver. But if we’re not grateful, if we don’t express our thanksgiving, then it can have the opposite effect.
In Romans 1:21 Paul says, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile & their foolish hearts were darkened.”