Summary: The burden of this message will deal with the question, “How does one live with an attitude of gratitude when things could not get much worse?”
This sermon was preached by Scotty L Killingsworth to the Evergreen Church on Sunday morning November 23, 2003.
The sermon title is: Worst Case Scenario
The burden of this message will deal with the question, “How does one live with an attitude of gratitude when things could not get much worse?”
Sermon text: Jeremiah 29
I heard about a little fourth-grader who stood up to give a report concerning the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here’s how he began:
The pilgrims came here seeking
Freedom of you know what.
When they landed, they gave
Thanks to you know who.
Because of them, we can worship
Each Sunday, you know where.
A little more specificity would be a good additive for our thankfulness. Some times I think we need to be more direct with God in the area of thankfulness. Most of the time I have an existential thankfulness in my heart that thinks it is being thankful for all things all the time, and that is not bad, but it doesn’t hurt to define what exactly we are thankful for either.
In Vermont a farmer was sitting on the porch with his wife. He was beginning to realize how much she meant to him. It was about time--for they had lived together forty-two years, and she had been such a help, a very willing worker. One day as they sat together, he said, "Wife, you’ve been such a wonderful woman that there are times I can hardly keep from telling you."
There are many of us who are very much like this Vermont farmer only our silence is toward God. We are so blessed that there are times we can hardly keep from telling him.
Would it surprise you to know that God enjoys our thanksgiving? Did you know that our relationship with Him is very important to God? God loves everything about us except our sin and rebellion. He wants to be in every part of our lives and share everything. He loves it when we are thankful.
This is the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I am going to encourage you to be thankful. Imagine that! It’s so easy to be thankful when a new baby is born or when a promotion at work comes through with a big raise, perks and extra weeks of vacation, or you are falling in love. What if the baby is born with severe retardation, the new job turns out to be a nightmare and the love affair is a train wreck? Are you still thankful? Can a person remain faithful to God when the worst case scenario is the present reality? Will your faith survive the really bad life-storms?
The Biblical Background for this talk will come from a worst case scenario in the life of God’s chosen people through the ministry of Jeremiah. The Israelites had so displeased the Lord, by spiritual coldness and idolatry, that he took drastic measures to restore his people. God will go to any length to re-establish a healthy relationship with his children. God will even engineer our failures to restore us to right relationship with him.
The truth statement that is the heart of this message is - God has a definite plan for his children even when we think things could not get worse. There are attitudes, activities and directions that will help each of us through those very difficult life situations.
In fact it is God that is our worst nightmare when we have broken intimacy with him. He will hold back no pain, test or life failure to restore his children.
How does one keep an attitude of gratitude in difficult times?
Don’t let depression rob you of life 29:5-6
Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.
Erwin W. Lutzer once said, “One of my great encouragements is to be friends with those who were personally acquainted with A. W. Tozer. This man, who knew God so intimately, had days when he was so discouraged he felt he could not continue as a minister. A man who instructed thousands in the deep things of God often felt he was a miserable failure.”
Depression will keep you from settling down, planting gardens, getting married and having children. But God’s word to captives and depressed people is—do not decrease. Jeremiah sums it up perfectly when he says, “Do not decrease.” Don’t give up on your dream. Don’t settle for less. You were made for a mighty purpose. Don’t allow a calamity or depression to keep your from your God given destiny. Challenges may be preparing you for even greater things. Your greatest days may be just around the next corner.