Summary: Life in Christ is expressed as a banquet, a feast that God invites everyone to enjoy.
“The Great Feast –A Thanksgiving Perspective”.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Ephesians 5:19-20 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The story is told of two old friends bumped into one another on the street one day. One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, "What has the world done to you, my old friend?"
The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars." "That’s a lot of money."
"But, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand free and clear." "Sounds like you’ve been blessed...." "You don’t understand!" he interrupted.
"Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million."
Now he was really confused. "Then, why do you look so glum?" "This week... nothing!"
Let’s hope we’d have a different viewpoint.
In the Scripture passages that were just read, thankfulness is tied to living peaceful and quiet lives it is tied to joy and it is tied to worship.
This emphasis that we find in Scripture we perhaps say “Amen” to. But what place does gratefulness have in your life?
Recently the Yonge Street Mission staff finalized a document about the mission’s core values. You know, those things that we consider the most important ideas or words that characterize us and that we want to make sure we build in to everything we do.
One of those ‘core values’ is, simply, gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of life. Gratitude for the honour of serving and loving and finding ourselves among this community. Gratitude, plain and simple.
Now gratitude and thankfulness are pretty much the same thing. Those words mean to be pleased, and to express being pleased.
And they also include being conscious of what has been received. Being aware of the benefits we have. And awareness of what we’ve received has to do with our perspective. We need the proper perspective.
One young lady wrote home from college: "Dear Mom: Sorry I haven’t written sooner. My arm is broken. I broke it, and my left leg, when I jumped from the second floor of my dormitory...when we had the fire. We were lucky.
“A young service station attendant saw the blaze and called the Fire Department. They were there in minutes. I was in the hospital for a few days. Paul, the service station attendant, came to see me every day.
“And because it was taking so long to get our dormitory liveable again, I moved in with him. He has been so nice. I must admit that I am pregnant. Paul and I plan to get married just as soon as he can get a divorce.
“I hope things are fine at home. “I’m doing fine and will write more when I get the chance. Love, Your daughter, Susie
P.S. None of the above is true. But I did get a "C" in Sociology and flunked Chemistry. I just wanted you to receive this news in its "Proper Perspective!" [Pause].
Now what we don’t need to do is manipulate the truth in order to have the proper perspective.
So let me ask you, what are you grateful for today? What is one thing that you want to express your gratitude to God for today? [Pause]
So there are many things that we’re grateful for, many things to offer thanksgiving for today.
And I think that one thing many or most of us share is a sense of thankfulness to God for His love, for the fact that He loves us in a way that’s best described as unconditional. His gift to us, His first and foremost blessing in our lives is Jesus.
For those of us with faith in Jesus, the very name ‘Jesus’ causes our hearts to stir and our hope to rise. Jesus is the One through Whom we have a relationship with God; Jesus is the One through Whom we are invited into the presence of God.
There’s a parable of Jesus that talks about this in terms of a banquet. It speaks of the invitation to a relationship with God as an invitation to a feast, so it’s fitting that today, the day of our thanksgiving feast, that we consider this parable. I’m going to ask _________ to read it for us.