Summary: Psalm 100 very clearly gives us a list of commands to follow if we are to be truly thankful not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday of our lives.
Two men were walking through a field one day when all the sudden they look up and see a bull off in the distance. Instantly they began to run towards the nearest fence and sure enough the bull ran after them in hot pursuit, and it soon became obvious that they weren’t going to make it. Terrified, one of the men shouted to the other, "Say a prayer, John. We’re in for it!" John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never prayed in public in my entire life." "But you have to!" cried his friend. "The bull is catching up to us." "All right," screamed John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the dinner table: ’Dear Lord, make us truly thankful for what we are about to receive.’”
The apostle Paul knew the power of a thankful life. He was thankful in good times and bad. He knew that God was conforming him to His image through every trial he faced, if he handled it correctly. He knew that a heart overflowing with thanksgiving could turn any situation around for good.
He wrote in Colossians 2:6-7, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving”.
Paul’s life is a testimony to all of us, showing how a person can be truly thankful even in the midst of very dark circumstances. You see, Paul was able to use his experience in a dark prison cell for God’s glory. It was during this time that he wrote several books of the New Testament, which is perhaps the greatest blessing of his life and has impacted several generations of Christians.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all adopt the same attitude – being able to praise God no matter what our circumstances, and no matter what the future holds, because we know that God is here with us and for us and that He loves us.
The psalm we are looking at tonight very clearly gives us a list of commands to follow if we are to be truly thankful not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday of our lives.
Read Psalm 100:1-5
The first command we see is…
1. A COMMAND TO SHOUT
As I mentioned last week and even referenced again here this morning, we don’t have a problem in the world shouting to the top of our lungs for our favorite sports team but when it comes to giving God praise we become deafly silent.
It’s ok to do more than just sit there and sing along while we are worshipping our Lord and Savior. It’s ok to shout out “Amen, Glory, or Hallelujah!” when soaking in the Word of God. Now I understand the need for reverence before our God, and showing Him the respect that He deserves, but He Himself tells us that there is a time to “make a joyful shout to the LORD!”
If I get more excited and more vocal when my team scores the winning touchdown than I do when I think about what Jesus has done for me on the Cross and through His Resurrection, maybe it is time for me to reexamine my priorities?
Not only does He say to make a joyful shout, but He even tells us who should do it…
“all you lands!” – this command to shout goes out to the entire world, who should acknowledge the Lord because of what He has done for His people. The day will come, as Paul writes in Phil. 2:10-11…
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Secondly, we have…
2. A COMMAND TO SERVE
The Psalmist tells us to “Serve the LORD with gladness!” If the presence of the Lord makes us joyful, then so should serving Him make us happy. It’s only when we stop taking pleasure in serving the Lord that it seems like a chore and a burden to do so.
Many of us serve the Lord and we do so in many different ways. Some preach or teach, some work in the nursery, others maintain the building, others may visit the sick, or feed the poor, or spread the Gospel and I am grateful for all of you.
But I have to wonder, are we serving with gladness? Now I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I serve just because I know it’s what I’m supposed to do. To take it a step further, there are times when serving is the last thing I feel like doing. And it’s during those times when my attitude is the opposite of gladness and yet I serve, but I do it unwillingly.