Summary: It used to be said that Christians looked like they’d been weaned on sour pickles and raised on prune juice. But that should never be so. We ought always to be thank filled people. Find out why.
OPEN: A farmer was sitting down to breakfast at local restaurant and bowed his head in prayer.
A couple of young men at the next table thought that was a bit odd and they made fun of him quietly as he prayed. When he finished his prayer, they chided him: “Hey old man, does everybody pray over their meals out on the farm?”
The man thought about that for a second, smiled back and replied. “Well, no. The pigs don’t.”
APPLY: There are people who are thankful in this world, and there are people who aren’t. One of the themes in Scripture is that God’s people should always be a thankful people
Psalm 147 is a psalm of praise. A psalm of prayer. A psalm of thanksgiving. And such a prayer is not that uncommon throughout Scripture. Again and again you see men and women of God lifting up their hearts and praising God. Giving Him thanks.
In addition, the Scriptures constantly admonishes us to “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…” Colossians 4:2-3
“…in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6
The Bible repeatedly tells again and again that we need to
Lift His name on high
Thanksgiving should be something that permeates our every prayer.
I. So, if it is true, that God’s people should always be thankful people, why does the Bible seem to constantly remind us to be thankful?
Well, because thanksgiving doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people
ILLUS: Years ago, comedian Will Rogers observed:
“Thanksgiving day. In the days of our founders, they were willing to give thanks for mighty little, for mighty little was what they expected. But now, neither government nor nature can give enough but what we think it’s too little. Those old boys in the fall of the year, if they could gather in a few pumpkins, potatoes and some corn for the winter, they were in a thankful mood.
If we can’t gather in a new Buick, a new radio, a tuxedo and some government relief, why, we feel that the world is against us.”
You would think it would uncharacteristic for a Christian to be an ungrateful person, and yet Christians can fall victim to a complaining and grumbling mindset. What would cause us to cause us to take so much for granted?
Well, because we often fail to take the advice of Scripture. It comes down to the matter of an old song we sing: “Count Your Many Blessings” – sing it with me…
"When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessing, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings see what God has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done."
People become ungrateful… because they don’t do that.
They don’t stop to think about what God has done.
They don’t stop to thank God for what they have.
They don’t stop to count the blessings they’ve received from God.
That’s why Psalms like Psalm 147 focus - not just on praising God - but on WHY we should praise God. Look again at just the first 5 verses
“Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” (it seems so natural to praise him, so right to glorify his name…)
“The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”
We serve a great God… and He does great things.
And He does a lot of those great things for us.
Throughout the Psalm, the writer says that God…
§ Heals our broken hearts
§ Binds up our wounds
§ Sustains the humble
§ Supplies rain for the fields
§ Provides food for our cattle
§ Strengthens the bars of our gates
§ Blesses our people
§ Grants us peace
§ And grants us food
The psalmist is making a list of things to be thankful for. He’s counting his blessings… naming them one by one.
G.K. Chesterfield observed that one of the greatest lessons he had learned in his life was that he could either take things FOR GRANTED… or he could take things WITH GRATITUDE. And that made all the difference in his life.
So, one of the first things we need to realize about thanksgiving is: it doesn’t come easily for most of us and so we need to learn to focus on the blessings we have received.