Summary: A sermon for the week of Thanksgiving.
“The Basis of Our Thanksgiving”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
The 100th Psalm was written for the people of Israel.
God had basically said to them, “When you come into the promised land, and settle down in your warm homes, and you have plenty to eat…
…don’t forget Me…
…I led you out of the wilderness and I brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey.”
But it doesn’t take very long to realize that the people of Israel needed a reminder…
…and we need one too.
And I believe God had us in mind, too, when this Psalm was written.
Did we notice to whom it is addressed?
The first verse says that it’s addressed to “all the earth,” and the last verse says that it includes “all generations.”
The importance of thanksgiving is so deep and so wide that it applies to every person of every generation who has ever lived!
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word thanksgiving as “a formal public expression of thanks to God.”
And there is something about giving thanks together to God that breaks down barriers between people and brings about a unity.
Psalm 100 is a hymn that was sung while entering the temple, and it probably was done in connection with a thanksgiving ceremony.
Let’s look at what the 100th Psalm emphasizes…
...let’s just scan the Psalm…
…in verse 1 we find the name of the Lord…
…in verse 2 we find the name of the Lord…
…in verse 3 we find the name of the Lord…
…In verse 4 it says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving.”….
….and in verse 5 we see, “For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
…This is the basis for our thanksgiving—The LORD!!!
Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall.
It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post.
When asked, “Why is that there?”…
…Alex Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think that they are wonderful….
…and I begin to feel proud of myself…
…I look down at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn’t get there on his own.
he had help.”
How many of us have had help?
Where did this help come from?
Where would we be without the help of the Lord?…
…without the goodness of the Lord?…
…without the love of the Lord?…
…without the faithfulness of the Lord?
Verse 3 instructs us, “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
Again, where would we be?
Where were you before you knew that the Lord is God?
Were you like a lost ship—out at sea?
Was your life just one big confusing mess?
Were you scared?
Were you driven by fear; rather than love, confidence and hope?
To “know that the Lord is God”…
…that, my friends, is the most important thing we can ever discover.
Money is not god.
Popularity is not god.
Good health…well, that will fade away along with youth, and physical strength.
Friends may abandon us.
Sin will destroy us.
Satan will tempt us.
Grief will overcome us.
“Creature comforts” will never satisfy us.
But the Lord is God!!!
“It is he who made us, and we are his…”
God thought of you while you were still just the dust of the earth.
God used God’s creative energies to make you.
You are God’s!!!
God loves you beyond your ability to comprehend.
It’s an awesome thing to be a parent.
Before Mary Ellen was born, I never knew the degree to which one can love another human being.
She is my joy.
Even when Mary Ellen is acting up…
…even when Mary Ellen is giving me a hard time about wanting to wear a certain Princess dress that she has already worn 3 days in a row…
…even when Mary Ellen won’t go to bed on time…
…I enjoy her.
She’s cute and wonderful—even then.
How much more does Your Heavenly Father…
…Who knows you better than you know yourself…
My friends, we are not alone.
This life is not, ultimately, some cruel joke where we are the punch lines.
We are God’s!
“we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
Do we know this?
For it is the knowledge of this reality which makes life worth the living…
…brings meaning into an otherwise futile existence…
…and causes “sons and daughters to prophesy…
…old men to dream dreams…
…and young men and women to see visions”!!!