Thanksgiving, Psalm 100
Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ
November 24, 2002
They say that everybody acts more friendly around thanksgiving. Everyone lightens up a bit. That we don’t mind the long lines at the stores. We are a little more gracious in traffic.
We also have a tendency to link thanksgiving with Christmas. The morning after thanksgiving will mark big sales. In fact I would bet that sometime in the evening on Thanksgiving Day you will see Christmas promotions, sales and some will probably get that tree up right away. For us it does kind of blend together.
Time magazine stated one year ago, "This is the kind of holiday we need right now, a holiday of paradox that comes at the end of a bitter harvest and yet finds something sweet to celebrate." The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was born in paradox. About half of the 102 people who traveled from England to America died before summer. Yet after that first fall harvest about 50 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans chose to give thanks.
This week we will choose to give thanks to God as well. We will thank Him for another year. In the midst of elevated terror alert, a lingering memory of lives lost and friends out of work we will chose to be thankful. Some will chose to be thankful in the midst of deadly health problems that could tear them from their family in an instant, others will offer thanks even though family is not close and your health is being weakened.
Choosing to give thanks to God is a conscious choice we all have to make. I learned early on in life that you should always find something to be grateful for in every situation that you find yourself in. The truth is the tough spots in our lives build our character more quickly than the times of ease and triumph. Because it is in those times that God teaches, God molds and God forms our hearts.
Isaac Newton said that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” What will be your reaction to thanksgiving this year? What will be your reaction to his provision for you? We’re used to cause and effect. We understand it, it’s measurable. A lot of times we play cause and effect with God. Such as God if you do something for me I will do something with my life for you.
Our Psalm today is right in the middle of your bible. It’s Psalm 100. and in it the author talks some about cause and effect.
Psalm 100:1 A psalm. For giving thanks. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This is very much a cause and effect Psalm. Often we think of cause and effect like trading favors. There are still those who think that they can go to church when God is good to them. And stay away when God is refining us like pure gold. The truth is the only way we offer God anything of value is through our worship. If you come in and don’t worship, what does God get our of that. God is clear about 2 things when it comes to worshiping Him.
First He wants us to worship him honestly and because we want to. As in this text our worship should come from the heart and we should be mature enough to come before Him with all sincerity and be real about our relationship with him.
The second thing that God makes clear in this text is that He is in charge, God alone is in control.
Dave Stone tells a story about going into a pizza hut and the waitress comes by to take their order. After the waitress took the order she pulled out a egg timer and said this is a new promotion we set these timer’s for 15 minutes and if the timer stops before you get your pizza the next pizza is free. Dave said ok and the other 3 guys he was with started talking but Dave said I just stared at that egg timer.
It got down to about a minute and I waved at the waitress 1 minute to go. I could see her getting drinks for some people and when the timer got to 20 seconds he knew she wasn’t going to make it. The timer went off and about 10 seconds later the waitress came with the pizza. Dave said It looks like you were a little bit late. She said I guess so, went in the back and brought out 4 vouchers for free pizzas and gave one to each person at the table.