Summary: This sermon examines the importance of thanksgiving being a part of a Christian lifestyle.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a date on our calendar which we celebrate every year. If we are not careful, thanksgiving can become nothing more than a date on the calendar. God expects more!
Joke: One Thanksgiving season a family was seated around their table looking at the holiday bird. From the oldest to the youngest, they were to express their praise. When they came to the 5-year-old, he began by looking at the turkey and expressing his thanks for the turkey. After that he gave thanks for his mother for cooking the turkey and his father for buying the turkey. But then he went beyond the immediate. He gave thanks for everybody who helped get the turkey to their table. He said, "I thank you for the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. I thank you for the grocery store people who put it on the shelf. I thank you for the farmer who made it fat. I thank you for the man who made the feed. I thank you for those who brought the turkey to the store." Using his imaginative mind, he traced the turkey all the way from its origin to his plate. And then at the end he solemnly said "Did I leave anybody out?" His 2-year-older brother, embarrassed by all those proceedings, said, "God." Solemnly and without being flustered at all, the 5-year-old said, "I was about to get to him." Well, isn’t that the question about which we ought to think at Thanksgiving? Are we really going to get to him this Thanksgiving?
[Getting Around to God, Citation: Joel Gregory, "The Unlikely Thanker," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110.]
(Contributed to Sermon Central by A. Todd Coget)
Thanksgiving day should be a day when we get around to God. However, it should be more than that! Thanksgiving should be more than a day. The Bible helps us understand this truth. In Eph. 5:18-20 the apostle Paul discusses this truth. “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NLT) As you examine these verses it becomes obvious that thanksgiving was intended to be much more than a date on the calendar. Lets look at the passage to discover the important place thanksgiving should hold in our hearts. There are two principles I want you to see.
I. The first principle is: thanksgiving is a part of the larger purpose behind our lives. What is the larger purpose behind our lives? Listen to these verses that describe our purpose.
“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,…everything got started in him and finds its purpose in Him.Col. 1:16 (MSG)
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” II Tim. 1:9 (NLT)
The purpose of our lives is to enjoy a relationship with, glorify and worship God. We are seeking to teach people this truth. The very first phrase in our purpose statement is: “The purpose of Faith Baptist Church is to glorify God.” That is it! That is all! We may do other things but the ultimate purpose in our lives is to glorify God.
We find this truth in Exo. 9:16 “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” (NKJV) Some people have not discovered this truth.
Joke: A visiting farmer stopped at a city restaurant to eat lunch. When he was served his food he bowed his head and gave thanks to the Lord. Some uncouth guys sitting at a nearby table noticed the farmer’s prayer and shouted, “Hey, pops, back where you come from does everybody pray before they eat?” Their laughter was silenced when the old farmer answered, “Everybody but the pigs”
(Illustration # 870 in Something to Think About. Raymond McHenry)
Jesus lived His life to glorify God and he did it by giving thanks in all that He did. When Jesus taught His disciples to partake of communion He gave thanks before sharing the elements (Mt. 26:41). When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He gave thanks before performing the miracle (Jn. 11:41). When Jesus fed the multitude He gave thanks before feeding the multitude (Jn. 6). Jesus lived to glorify God. A person who lives to glorify God will do so by making thanksgiving a regular part of their life.