Summary: Thankfulness should be the hallmark of a Christian. The lack of thankfulness shows a heart in need of mending, instruction, and direction. Paul puts is simply like this: it is God’s will for you to be thankful. So let us examine what it is to be thankful.
It is that time of year again. Now I don't believe in preaching to the season, but follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and this time the Spirit is leading me to preach on Thankfulness.
Our concept of Thanksgiving comes from the thoughts of first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims who survived the first terrible winter where a full half of the 112 died, nevermind the fact that the 2nd ship, the Speedwell, being sabotaged by the crew had to turn back so they did not have all expected people nor supplies. Yet by the grace of God and the help of the Native American Indians with the planting of crops had a three day harvest festival celebrating God's bounty.
We have the first Thanksgiving Day proclomation by President George Washington set aside a time for prayer and Thanksgiving for the victory over the British and the establishment of a new nation. Abraham Lincoln set aside the forth Thursday of each November as a time for prayer and thanksgiving (and if you are curious, it was not till FDR that Congress that it became a Fedral Holiday). So dispite the opions of Obama and others, we are a Christian nation founded on Christian priciples and an attitude of Thanksgiving grew out of the reconition of the God that had established and blessed this land.
The Trouble with Unthankfulness
It is a trait of non-believers
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:21)
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
• They refused to acknowledge every good thing came from God.
• There is a progression that spirals downward from being unthankful. Unthankful leads to murmuring &complaining, which leads to bitterness, which leads to coveting, which leads us to all kinds of unrighteousness.
• Look at the 10 commandments. Coveting is last because it is the root behind the other 9.
An Old Testament Illustration (Numbers 21:4-9)
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:5-9)
• They go back to the old tune: why did you bring us here to die. Oh how I loved the leeks and garlic of captivity! How I hate what You have given to us. And to imply what God had provided and sustained them for 40 years was not adequate to meet their nutritional needs!
• The serpent is a symbol of sin judged; brass speaks of the divine judgment, as in the brazen altar.
If God is so displeased with us not being thankful, that it leads on such a downward spiral, shouldn’t we be thankful?
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Giving thanks always - This is probably designed to be connected with the preceding verse, and to denote that the proper subject of psalms and hymns is thanksgiving and praise. This is indeed always the main design, and should be so regarded; and this part of worship should be so conducted as to keep up in the heart a lively sense of the mercy and goodness of God. For all things - ὑπὲρ πάντων huper pantōn - for all things, or all “persons.” Dr. Barrow supposes that the meaning here is, that they were to give thanks for “all persons,” and to regard themselves as under obligations to give thanks for the mercies bestowed upon “the human race,” in accordance with the idea expressed in the Liturgy of the Episcopal church, “We, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for thy goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all men.”