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Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon on the appropriate attitude for everyday life.

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The Attitude of Gratitude

Be Thankful Always!

11/27/02

I. Introduction

Everybody knows what day is tomorrow- Thanksgiving Day. The day when everybody’s out of school. The day when you go to grandma’s or aunt may’s house, spend time with family and grub down on some turkey. The day when you toss the football around, or watch the parade on TV. All those things are great, but most importantly, Thanksgiving Day is the day when you GIVE THANKS! Now, personally, I think there are a couple of holidays that should last all year long, like Christmas. Everybody loves Christmas, I mean, you’re giving and getting, there’s Santa Claus and reindeer, and egg nog. Then there’s Valentine’s Day. If every couple acted the way they do on Valentine’s Day all year long, the divorce rate would probably be cut in half. Think about it, on Valentine’s Day, dad gives mom some roses and candy and little cards scattered all over the house filled with compliments of her beauty. He treats her like a queen. If mom was treated like a queen more than once a year, chances are that mom might be a little happier, and we’d be less likely to have to do huge amounts of chores because she’d be dancing around the house, whistlin’ love songs while she cleans every nook and cranny. And we wouldn’t be grossed out because our parents are in love. We’d be happy because we get to sit around and play video games instead of vacuuming the living room. Christmas and Valentine’s Day are definitely two holidays that should be yearlong. But let’s not forget the day we celebrate tomorrow-Thanksgiving. If there ever was a holiday that should be yearlong, it’s the day of giving thanks. If there ever was a day that people stop and think about the good things in their lives, it’s Thanksgiving.

Now, I’m not the only one that thinks Thanksgiving should last all year long. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:17-20, “17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always…”

It seems to me that God thinks that Thanksgiving should last all year long as well, otherwise He wouldn’t have included it so much in His book. The word “thanks” appears in the Bible about 110 times. If He said it once, it’d be important. The fact that it appears this much, means that it could be something He wants us to get a hold on. Let’s dig into this subject of thanksgiving and find out what it means to have the attitude of gratitude.

II. It’s More Than an Action

You see, truly giving thanks is more than just an action, it’s an attitude. Remember, a couple of weeks ago I told you about the two categories that people can fall into. Those that do things because they want to, and those that do things because they have to. Well, those same categories can be used here. Tomorrow, there’ll be a lot of kids sitting around the dinner table with their parents eating. During that meal, in between whoppin’ bites of turkey and dressing, mom or dad will ask everybody to give thanks for something in their life. Well, at certain tables in this country, there’ll be some guys that don’t wanna say a word. They’re hardcore. They won’t be softened by some holiday tradition. But everybody knows that momma gets what she wants. And if momma wants everybody to say something they’re thankful for, then everybody, and I mean everybody, will say something they’re thankful for. So, it comes around to Lil’ Ruff Ruff over here, and his lips ain’t budging. He ain’t talking. And everybody’s saying, “Come on, Lil’ Ruff Ruff, there’s got to be something that you’re thankful for.” Lil’ Ruff Ruff shrugs his shoulders, then he feels the heat of his momma’s stare burning right through his cheek. He turns his head and sees the devil himself in her eyeballs. Quickly he mutters that he’s thankful for his baseball glove, and his parents. And then momma’s eyes glisten over as if all heaven had opened up for her, cuz’ momma got what she wanted. Now, Lil’ Ruff Ruff falls into the category of those that do things because they have to, and his giving thanks was an action, he did it, he gave thanks. But, truly giving thanks, truly being thankful, takes having the attitude of gratitude. Lil’ Ruff Ruff had an attitude alright, but it wasn’t an attitude of gratitude. If he was truly thankful for his baseball glove and his parents, he couldn’t have waited until his turn to speak. He would’ve been on the edge of his seat, saying, “Is it my turn, when’s it gonna be my turn? Please, can I go? What about now?” And then when it got around to him, his list of things would have been a mile long, and they would have had to tell him to stop so everybody else could talk. You see, it’s so much more than just an action. Do you see the difference between the action and the attitude? The action gives thanks because it has to. The attitude gives thanks because it wants to. And even when it’s done with the actual giving thanks, it’s still thankful for so many things!


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