Summary: I encourage you to take two safeguards to protect your Thanksgiving - two things that you need to remember. (Powerpoints available - #311.)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this sermon are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request PP #311.)
A. By Presidential Proclamation, this Thursday is traditionally a day of national Thanksgiving. So I want to call your attention to two great thanksgiving scriptures. One is Psalms 103, & we’ll look at its first 5 verses in just a few moments.
Another passage is 1 Thessalonians 5:16 18. Please listen as I read it to you. It says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Now you need to realize that it doesn’t say, "Give thanks FOR all circumstances," but rather, "IN all circumstances." No matter how terrible some of the circumstances of life may be, with God’s help there will always be that for which we can be thankful.
ILL. Two school teachers who hadn’t seen each other in several years met at a convention, & they began filling each other in on what had happened in their lives since the last time they had met.
One teacher said, "I got married two years ago." "Oh, that’s good," her friend replied.
"Well, no, not really," the first one said. "My husband is twice as old as I am." "Oh, that’s bad," her friend replied.
"Well, no, not really," she said, "he is a millionaire several times over." "Oh, that’s good," her friend replied.
"Well, no, not really," she said, "he’s mean to me, & won’t give me any money." "Oh, that’s bad," her friend replied.
"Well, no, not really," she said. "He did build us a $400,000 house." "Oh, that’s good," her friend replied.
"Well, no, not really," she said. "It burned down last month." "Oh, that’s bad," her friend replied.
"Well, no, not really," she said. "He was in it when it burned down."
B. Yes, this is Thanksgiving week, when our children & grandchildren bring home from school turkeys that they have cut out of construction paper with little feathers pasted on them, & pilgrims with funny bonnets & hats & shoes.
In the past, during Thanksgiving week our President usually issues a Thanksgiving proclamation. And our very secular government, that almost chokes every time it says the word, "God," suddenly projects an air of piety & encourages us all to be thankful for at least this one day of the year.
C. You see, Thanksgiving is an unusual holiday because it combines God & government & society. And it is generally considered acceptable for everyone, regardless of religion, to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day.
Now I don’t know about you, but that concerns me, because when something becomes universally acceptable it has usually been drastically watered down or changed from its original purpose. For instance, look at what has happened to the very special days of Christmas & Easter, & even Hanukkah.
PROP. So I encourage you this morning to take two safeguards to protect your Thanksgiving two things that you need to remember.
I. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE THANKFUL TO THE RIGHT SOMEBODY
A. No. 1 is this, "Make sure that you are thankful to the right somebody." If we’re going to say "thank you" we must say "thank you" to somebody. Make sure that it is the right somebody.
ILL. Harriet Martineau was an atheist. One morning she & a friend stepped out into the glories of a beautiful fall morning. As she saw the brilliant sun peeking through the haze, & the frost on the meadow, & the brightly colored leaves making their way lazily to the ground, she was filled with its beauty & burst forth with "I am just so grateful for it all." And her believing friend asked, "Grateful to whom, my dear?"
B. That’s a good question at Thanksgiving. If you’re grateful, if you’re really thankful, then the next question would have to be, "Grateful to whom?"
ILL. I like the story about a lady who pulled up to the drive in window at the bank. The inside teller was facing the hot afternoon sun, so he pulled down the large sun screen, making it impossible for his customers to see him through the window. He could see out but they couldn’t see in.
As this lady pulled up to the window he pushed the button & the drawer moved out to meet her. She put in her deposit & the drawer withdrew. A few moments later the drawer came back out again with her deposit slip & the money she had requested. She counted it & then put the money in her purse.
She looked at the window, but unable to see anyone inside, she said, "I suppose you’re totally automated, but I just feel I ought to say `thank you’ anyway." Have you ever felt like that?