Summary: A Thanksgiving Message.
WHEN WE ARE THANKFUL
INTRO: An Oklahoma pastor collected the following true events: Samuel Leibowitz, a brilliant criminal lawyer, saved 78 people from the electric chair and not a single one thanked him. When Clarence Darrow, through his legal brilliance freed two men from execution, the wealthy relatives haggled bitterly about a modest fee. Art King had the radio program, “Job Center of the Air.” He supposedly found jobs for 2,500 people of whom only 10 ever thanked him.
“Dear Abby” wrote of the woman who for 4 years had given 4 neighboring children rides to school. The woman said, “Now, I don’t want a metal, but when I meet one of the mothers in the grocery store or at PTO, not one has ever said thank you to me.”
Are we a thankless people today? In light of the above, it is no wonder that our children think that the world owes them a living. Paul shows us how our Thanksgiving will be reflected in our daily lives.
I. WE ARE PATIENT WITH OTHERS (v. 5).
Paul says that the Christian’s gentleness should be apparent to lost people as well as fellow Christians.
The KJV word moderation is a poor translation of the Greek. It is translated elsewhere in the N.T. as referring to the gentleness and patience of Christ. It is to be understood as a model for us to follow. Jesus, who had all power and authority, displayed his gentleness.
On the other hand, those who are weak are always trying to defend their power and dignity.
Even in the most difficult of situations, the Christian is to react with gentleness and patience.
ILLUS: EMPATHY. The University of Wisconsin Medical School has 16 in-structors with no medical training. They are not doctors but patients. The medical school feels that they will know better than any others, about the disease they are suffering with.
Too many times we are impatient and harsh with people. We yell at our children, and criticize our spouses. We need to develop a Spirit of gentleness and patience for others.
II. WE DON’T LET ANXIETY RULE OUR LIVES (v. 6).
Paul says, “Don’t be so concerned about things . . .” He instructs the Christians at Phillippi of the improtance that prayer plays in their daily lives. In their city, they wre persecuted almost daily for their faint in Christ. This would naturally result in worry and anxiety.
Anxiety is distraction. It is being “pulled apart” or “going to pieces.” Jesus warned against anxiety (Matthew 6:25-33). We are not taught to neglect things around us, but to take them seriously.
However, anxiety is destructive, not creative. It is faithless, frutiless, and evil. When we become anxious about things, we usually neglect talking to God, and try to work things out for ourselves. This is the time when we need to go to God for help and strength.
ILLUS: The late Dr. Oscar Thompson, a professor at SWBTS while dying of cancer, did not think about his loosing battle, but instead thought of other people who had the same disease. He would council with them, trying to help them accept the inevitable future.
Instead of being anxious about his delimma, or complaining about his cancer, he praised God for strength to serve and help others.
The opposite of anxiety is not calmness, it is thanksgiving. We are to give thanks to God for all of life, both the good and the bad.
CONC: At this thanksgiving season, are we patient with others, and free from anxiety about the things around us? By being thankful to God, we are able to overcome these sins which seek to destroy us.