Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon.
“The Basis of Our Thanksgiving”
By Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor
Grace UMC, Soddy Daisy, 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 I’m afraid that we need one as well.
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 is 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 and public expression of thanks to God.”
And there is something about giving thanks together to God that breaks down barriers and brings about a unity.
Thanksgiving is something we need.
It’s something we need every day, several times a day!
Thanksgiving is a gift from God for our well-being!!!
Giving thanks to God puts everything else in a right perspective!
When we give thanks to God for everything we receive…whether it be good or bad…
…other things fall into place!
Possessions lose their luster.
Problems don’t seem so big.
We need to be intentional about giving thanks to God in all things.
But sometimes it’s hard to be thankful, especially if we have gotten in the habit of complaining.
Have you ever found it difficult to be around a complainer for too long a period of time?
Complainers are often energy zappers, and motivation killers!
The Hebrew people grumbled constantly during their forty-year wilderness sojourn after Moses led them out of Egypt.
And their constant complaining is one of the main reasons they had such an awful time getting to the Promised Land.
As a matter of fact—the complainers never did make it at all!
And there were plenty of complainers within the crowds of people who followed Jesus around as well.
In John Chapter 6 that Judy read for us earlier, Jesus has already fed the crowd, but now they have come back for more.
And instead of expressing humble gratitude for yesterday’s gift of bread and fish, they confront Jesus with an attitude of entitlement with words to this effect: “Moses gave manna to our ancestors. The least you can do is give us another meal.”
These folks are too busy making demands to realize that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of all their needs.
Have you ever found yourself busy complaining and demanding?
Does complaining and demanding bring you joy and peace or does it disrupt your walk with God?
Jesus is the “true bread from heaven.”
The biblical antidote for complaining is giving thanks!
And to continually give thanks to God—brings us joy.
And this joy is a gift that comes to us through the work of Christ and the presence of Christ within us, even—and sometimes especially—in the face of suffering.
Joy is a profound satisfaction, grounded in the peace of God!
What feeds your soul?
It’s no secret that many of us are driven.
Human beings are driven by a soul-hunger which is almost impossible to articulate.
And the Thanksgiving holiday has, sadly for some, become a time to stuff ourselves with what we thought we wanted, while often neglecting what we need the most—Bread from Heaven!
Jesus is the Bread of Life, sent from heaven to satisfy the longings of the human soul.
Have we discovered this?
This is one of the main reasons that, here at Grace United Methodist Church, we are offering and forming Band Societies.
Within these societies or small groups we will be given the privilege of being fed by the Bread of Life in ways we never knew possible!
Within these societies we will come to grow and mature as Christians.
We will come to be less “nailed to the earth,” shall we say and instead be anchored in the love for God and neighbor.
To have a habitual love for God and neighbor…which is the one thing which can bring us complete joy…
…is, according to John Wesley, the definition of Christian Perfection!
This is not something we can do on our own.
There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian!
In John Chapter 6 the people ask Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
To which Jesus replies, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”