Summary: There are many people aren’t really thankful. They believe that they deserve what they have and – what they don’t have – and what they should.
Thanksgiving is a time to be… thankful.
There are many people aren’t really thankful. They believe that they deserve what they have and – what they don’t have – and what they should.
And there are others who ARE thankful, but they’re very quiet and discreet about it.
Then there are still others who are so thankful they just can’t hardly contain themselves.
For example, the great classical composer Joseph Hayden, was criticized because his church music was too cheerful.
He replied: “I cannot help it. I give forth what is in me. When I think of the Divine Being, my heart is so full of joy that the notes fly off as from a spindle. And as I have a cheerful heart, He will pardon me if I serve Him cheerfully.”
There are people who are so excited about their blessings that they can hardly contain themselves. And I’ve found that the more a person loves Jesus… the more excited they get about being thankful. That was particularly true of Paul.
Here in Romans 7:25 Paul says,
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)
But this isn’t the only time he wrote something like this. Earlier in Romans he writes:
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his life. (Romans 6:17)
In another letter, Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth and again he says:
…thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
And (speaking of the change God had brought about in the Corinthian Christians)
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15
But Paul’s most powerful statement of praise shows up in I Corinthians 15
51. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
52. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised 1imperishable, and we will be changed.
53. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.
55. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
56. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
57. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There’s no mistaking the fact that Paul was excited about giving thanks to God. And this truth was so obvious that a legend grew up around Paul and his love for Jesus.
ILLUS: This legend tells of a wealthy merchant who had traveled to Rome to find this preacher he’d heard so much about. In his search, the merchant found Timothy… and Timothy arranged a visit.
At the time, Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Stepping inside the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a rather old man, physically frail, but whose serenity and magnetism challenged the visitor. They talked for hours.
Finally the merchant left and outside the prison, he asked Timothy "What is the secret of this man’s power? I have never seen anything like it before."
Did you not guess?" replied Timothy. "Paul is in love."
The merchant looked bewildered. "In Love?"
"Yes," the missionary answered, "Paul is in love with Jesus Christ."
The merchant looked even more bewildered. "That’s it. That’s all?"
Timothy smiled and then replied, "Sir, that is everything."
Paul was in love with Jesus. It was obvious in everything he did and every letter he wrote.
What was it that led him to get so excited about his savior?
I want you to hold that question in the back of your mind for a few minutes while I tell you a story.
In Luke 7, (Luke 7:36-47) we’re told of the time Jesus had been invited to a Pharisee named Simon’s house. No Simon didn’t really like Jesus. He didn’t go out of his way to make Him feel welcome. He didn’t even bother to show the traditional courtesy of having Jesus’ feet washed by one of his servants. But I suspect that Simon invited Jesus anyway because of the prestige of having this great teacher in his home. Simon gave a great banquet, and they all reclined at the table to eat.