Notes from Sunday 15 December 2013..
Speaker: Pastor Don Woke
“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations”
Our perspective to life would determine whether or not we would be thankful people. How we see the things that happen to us or in our lives will determine whether we grumble, complain, or rejoice and thank God.
In the Christian course, thanksgiving is not an elective but a directive. Again and again we are commanded to be thankful, to give thanks and to abound with thanksgiving (Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Colossians 2:7).
PERSPECTIVE AFFECTS THANKFULNESS
Some people look at a glass of water and see it as half full. Others look at the same glass and conclude it is half empty. How we see things is a reflection of our internal frame of reference. Those who see things from a half-full perspective are likely to be thankful while the converse is also true.
Matthew Henry (pastor in the early 1700s and writer of the famous “Matthew Henry Commentary”) was robbed one day as he returned home. This was the entry he made in his diary the next day: “Let me be thankful
- First, because I was never robbed before.
- Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life.
- Third, because although they took my all, it was not much.
- Fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
A man was crossing a busy highway and was nearly knocked down by a 33 ton trailer. Instead, the expensive hat he wore fell on the road and was ran over by the truck. He looked back and exclaimed: “It could have been my head!” He found something to be thankful about instead of moaning over his loss
The irony of life is that while someone is complaining about his salary, another person thanks God that he has a job; while one person is complaining that she doesn’t have a child, another person is thanking God that she has a marriage; while one person is complaining that much hasn’t happened in their life this year, another person is grateful to be alive because where there is life there is hope.
REASONS TO BE THANKFUL – Psalms 100
This is a psalm of thanksgiving. If we all obeyed its admonition then we’ll all be coming to church with singing, there won’t be a sad face in God’s house! We are to acknowledge and thank God for whom He is and what He does.
In this psalm, we see why we need to be thankful;
- First, when we thank God, we acknowledge Him as our Maker. We are not an accident but the work of a thoughtful, loving, and faithful God. “You are worthy, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honor and power,for you created all things,and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11 (NIV). Also see Isaiah 43:21;
“This people I have formed for Myself;
They shall declare My praise..”
2. Secondly, when we thank God we acknowledge His goodness in our lives. “Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep he takes care of.” Psalms 100:3 (Easy-to-Read Version)
God cares for us, the one who is Lord over all, cares for us. He is God, and we are not. It is our duty to thank Him.
WHY PEOPLE ARE UNTHANKFUL
- We are by nature unthankful people. We can observe it in children. We are like a little boy who was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked “what do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought for a moment and handed the orange back and said, “peel it.” Thanksgiving helps us remind ourselves of God’s goodness to us. Thankfulness has to be cultivated.
- Pride is another reason why people are unthankful. It’s a mind-set that says “I earned what I have.” God warned Israel against it: “then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.” “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). Paul also warned against this attitude in 1 Corinthians 4:7 “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive. Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
- We forget that God is the source of all goodness. We must not forget that God has made, and helped us. If you look back, you will see many times, that God intervened in your life, and sent helpers along the way.
Alex Haley, writer of “Roots” had the picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “why is that there?” His answer was “Every time I write something significant … and begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence and remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.” That is the basis of thanksgiving. Whatever we are or have is by the help of God.
Remember the song “I owe it all to Jesus…if I am ever anything then all the praise to Him I’ll bring.”
4.Sense of entitlement. We all have a tendency to take things for granted. In Luke 17:11-19 we find a typical case of people taking God’s blessing for granted. Only the Samaritan found it necessary to return to thank Jesus. Those who believe that God owes them more are never happy with what they have and will not find reason to be thankful. Israel continually found herself in that trap!, Indeed, Israel incurred the wrath of God with their murmuring and dissatisfaction!
5. Comparison. This is related to the above. Most people are grateful until they see what someone else got. In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus told a parable of workers who were hired at different times and were promised a denarius each. At pay time the workers hired earlier in the day grumbled because they felt they were entitled to more. What other people received marred their joy and sense of contentment.
THANKFULNESS ALSO INVOLVES ACTION
Thankfulness is not only an attitude, it is also an action. When people are thankful, they show it by their words, by their testimony, and by their deeds. That is why in the psalms we find several instructions to offer to God sacrifice of thanksgiving: “Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.” (Also see Psalms 50:14; 116:17).
A certain man went to his priest, complaining: “Father, life is so unbearable. Nine of us must live in the one room of my house. What can I do?”
The priest answers, “Take your goat into the room with you.” The man was taken aback by the answer. Certain he has misheard, he asks again. But the priest insists: “Do as I say; take your goat into your one room and come back in a week.”
One week later the man returns, even more distraught: “We cannot stand it; the goat is filthy, it stinks and it destroys everything.”
The priest pauses, thinking deeply, and says: “You will return to your home and remove the goat. And come back in one week.”
When the man returns the next week, he is radiant: “Life is beautiful! We enjoy life so much and are so thankful — there are only nine of us now in the house.”
A change in perspective caused a change in the man’s attitude. This is quite instructive.
Thankful people are happy people but ungrateful people are always unhappy. If we would all adopt an attitude of thanksgiving into our lives, our lives would definitely change.
From the Scriptures, we observe that almost always, those who were thankful for what God had done made room in their lives for more. Nobody has ever been diminished by giving thanks.
Barisuka and Tutu Uebari, newly married couple giving thanks