Summary: The need for giving thanks is vital to Chrisitan growth, but those who have much seem to find it more difficult to be thankful.
Eph 5:19 - 20, 1 Thes 5:16-18, Psa 100:1 - 5, Rom 1:21, Th 5:18
November 18, 2002
I. On Sept 16, 1620 Two ships sailed from Plymouth England, The Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell had a lot of problems as they started among them were many leaks springing in the ship. So, the Speedwell decided to go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower.
A. Of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower the majority were devout Christians. They were coming to America to shake lose from the bonds of the church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.
B. They were excited and they had high expectations. But, it wasn’t long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford a historian on the Mayflower, who would later become Governor of the colony for 33 years.
C. Many of the passengers became sea sick as huge waves would crash over the deck of the ship... The nights were cold, damp and dark.
D. And to make matters worse one of the crew, a very large man would constantly curse and abuse those who were sick... saying he was going to throw them overboard and steal all of their possessions... Bradford records, "BUT IT PLEASED GOD BEFORE THEY CAME HALF SEAS OVER, TO SMITE THE YOUNG MAN WITH A GRIEVOUS DISEASE OF WHICH HE DIED IN A DESPERATE MANNER.. AND SO HE HIMSELF WAS THE FIRST THROWN OVERBOARD. THUS HIS CURSES LIGHT OWN HIS OWN HEAD, AND IT WAS AN ASTONISHMENT TO ALL HIS FELLOWS FOR THEY NOTED IT TO BE THE JUST HAND OF GOD UPON HIM.."
E. That far but ended their problems though, they faced many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they could not even keep the sail out and the force of the wind -- eventually cracked and bowed the main beams .
F. When they had just went over the half way across the Atlantic the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, but Christopher Jones, the ships Master, assured them that the vessel was "strong and firm under water."
G. He ordered the beam to be secured. As they raised the beam, they "committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to go on.
H. These 100 people; cold, wet -- on wooden ship in the middle of the ocean -- put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620.
I. William Bradford writes, "AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL..."
J. Before going ashore they decided to write a document know as the Mayflower Compact. At the heart of the compact was a conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and the law without a moral base is really no law at all.
K. The day the Pilgrims signed the May Flower Compact, according to William Bradford, "they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor...and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean... and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) "LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER."
L. This next week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and it is important for us to get together with our families and friends, but food and fun is not really what Thanksgiving is all about. Thanksgiving is about expressing to God how much we appreciate all that he does for us.
M. The real first Thanksgiving may have been when those Pilgrims landed on that beach after they had been all those months at sea, and acknowledged that it was God that had seen them through the trials that they faced and God that they should thank.
II. Thanksgiving is really a hard subject to preach about and I think that one of the reasons is that we live in a place where there is so much abundance that we don’t realize how much we have to be thankful for.
A. Being thankful is a lot about our perspective. We many times only thank God for things that other people don’t even dream about.
B. The day to day things that we take for granted many people would praise God for.
C. A girl who had moved away to go to College wrote her mother this letter. "
Dear Mom: Sorry I haven’t written sooner. My arm really has been broken. I broke it, and my left leg, when I jumped from he second floor of my dormitory...when we had the fire. We were lucky. A young service station attendant saw the blaze and called the Fire Department. They were there in minutes. I was in the hospital for a few days. Paul, the service station attendant, came to see me every day. And because it was taking so long to get our dormitory liveable again, I moved in with him. He has been so nice. I must admit though that I am pregnant. Paul and I plan to get married just as soon as he can get a divorce. I hope things are fine at home. I’m doing fine, and will write more when I get the chance. Love,