Summary: A thanksgiving sermon, good for any time, that gives thanks for the best things in life.
The BEST Things In Life
This sermon comes largely from my son Reese. There is a saying, "Out of the mouth of babes". There must be an end to that statement but I don't know what it is. But I know that it means that sometimes the greatest truth comes from a child.
We were walking up the steps and Reese asked, I don't know what he was thinking about, but he asked, "Dad, what is the most important thing you have?
I started to think, "I have many things that are very important." Then I get to church and am searching for God's leadership in a sermon and I am led to this verse, James 1: 17,
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. "
Immediately my mind flashed back to Reese's question. And I realized that God was teaching me that day that there is a difference in gifts ... there are good gifts, better gifts and there are the BEST gifts ... the "good and perfect gifts. "
Today, I want us to contemplate these gifts. Let's deal only with the last two types ... the better and the best.
1. AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP
Let me begin by saying that everyone of you in this room have been the lucky recipient of one of the greatest and most prized gifts in this world ---YOU ARE AN AMERICAN.
And the sad thing is that 90% of you have absolutely no idea what that means. It means nothing to you because you have never been out of the United States, never seen what a third world country is like. Oh, you have seen, but you didn't look, you turned the channel.
You can't imagine living in a country where the average income is $400 per YEAR!
Where education is not a possibility, where you can be the hardest working person in the world and you will still watch your children starve to death or die from diseases that we think of as silly children's diseases. You can't imagine living where the government owns everything, all the land. Where medical care is UNAVAILABLE. Where ther are no jobs, no money for little extras, not even enough for essentials.
You can't even imagine living in more developed countries of Europe where the wash weekly or less, defecate in the streams, urinate on the streets, where medicine is social. .. cheap but unavailable.
You don't realize that people will risk their lives in make-shift rafts to cross the ocean just to be here ... to escape the poverty, the political oppression, the disease, the hopelessness of their country. And they are not dead beats who want to loaf... they have no hope there.
You should thank God EVERY DAY that you are an American.
2. A JOB.
I know you gripe about your job, want out of it, think you have it rough. But you have a job. And that is more than half the people in the world can say. That is more than a large number of Americans can say. Oh, there is a belief that there are plenty of jobs out there if people really want to work. It is not true. There are people for whom, through no fault of their own... they have lost a job... then a home ... and now they can't bathe or dress for a job, have no transportation, and they cannot get a job.
There are others locked into Welfare because they have no education and no experience... so they can't get a job that pays enough for them to afford child care. They have to stay home to watch the kids.
If you have a job you should thank God every day on your way there and back.
I want you to know that only recently have I had enough sense to realize just how blessed a person is to have health... adequate health. I have stood by the bedside of persons with cancer, strokes, heart attack, accidents, aids, breathing problems, stomach problems, and back problems. They have been really old and really young.
I just started back jumping rope every night because I have been scared into it. I am healthy, I can walk without wheezing, I can run a mile without chest pains, I can touch my toes without pain; I can enjoy my friends and family, play softball, enjoy golf And I realize that every year that I live and can say that; I am in a smaller and smaller group. If you have health that allows you to work, enjoy recreation, and enjoy people ... you are fortunate.
4. CHRISTIAN PARENTS.
And you know, it was not until I was grown, in the ministry, 27 years old that I saw this blessing. My mother is a believer, my father. .. I doubt it. I grew up in a home with an abusive, binge alcoholic. My mother worked, we were "latch key children" and we did not go to church often. My home was like every other home around us… except when my father was drunk.... then it was worse. They didn't teach us to pray or read the bible. I never saw them do either. They were not un-Christian ... anti-Christian, they were just very, very worldly. But as I began to see Christian homes, where parents raised their children in church and by the Word, when I saw how much better they turned out than children who were not raised that way ... when I saw the pain those children went through with drugs, alcohol, divorce, and selfishness, I began to see just how important that Christian up- bringing was.