Thanksgiving Every Day!

Thanksgiving Every Day!

1 Thess. 5: 18: "In everything give thanks."

This has something of the impossible about it.
The heights to which it calls us, seem far too rugged and steep for our feeble feet.
That is why many of us never think of taking this great verse seriously.
We simply pass it by!

Paul was perfectly serious.
He believed that we should make every day, a day of thanksgiving.
This was not just a theory with Paul.
This was his conviction.
This was his experience.

Study his life and see him in trying situations.
At times you find him without his cloak.
At times you find him without his books and his parchments.
At times you even find him without his freedom and his friends.
But never once, do you find him without his song of thanksgiving.

"In everything give thanks."

This is more than good advice.
It is a command.
It is a binding command.

"In everything give thanks."

Gratitude is not optional.
We cannot be grateful or ungrateful as it suits us.
To refuse to be thankful is to refuse to be obedient.

Notice the wide scope of this command.
"In everything give thanks."

The scope is so wide, that many of us would be inclined to say that it is utterly impossible.
It is impossible, unless we receive help from above.
God is constantly calling upon us to do the impossible.

It was impossible for the paralyzed man to rise and walk, but as he was willing,
Christ made the impossible, possible.

"In everything give thanks."

Have we ever really been serious in keeping this command?

Notice what it says: "In everything."
In the joy things and in the sorrow things, in the laughter things and in the tearful things,
in the things bright with the morning, and the things dark with night.

"In everything give thanks."

That means that we are to be thankful when we succeed.
We are to be grateful in times of prosperity and of victory.
It also means that we are to be thankful when we fail.
We are to be thankful when our bodies are healthy with vigor and energy.
We are also to be thankful when a destructive disease attacks our body.

"In everything." This is a broad command.

This is truly a high standard that our Lord has set before us.
But it is a possible standard.
He never calls us to do that which through His grace, we cannot do.

How can we reach that great mountain height
where we will really be able to give thanks, "In everything."?

How it is this amazing possibility to be realized?

It is to be realized through faith in God.
Gratitude is a child of faith.

If we ever come to the place where we can give thanks in everything,
we will need to have a real and vital faith in God.
We will also have to believe that Paul speaks the truth when he says,
"All things work together for good to them that love God."

There will be many times when we will not see how trials and defeats can be for our good.
There will be many times when we will not understand.
There have been those days when we see the black clouds and the pouring rain, the slick streets,
the muddy roads, and the water-soaked fields, and faith can look out and thank God and sing:

"It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see
Wild flowers upon the hills.

A cloud of gray engulfs the day
And overwhelms the town;
It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining roses down.

So a health to him who's happy,
And a fig to him who frets;
It isn't rain to me,
It's raining violets."

That is how faith can sing!

"In everything give thanks."

How can we cultivate this rare flower called gratitude?

If we are going to be thankful in everything, we cannot ignore the daily blessings of life
for which we are so accustomed to take for granted.

That is what most of us tend to do.

A pastor just happened to meet an old friend, who had suffered greatly from a dreaded disease.
He had recovered, and was now in perfect health.
His dreary days of depression and long nights of wretchedness had passed.

He was so happy.
He was bubbling over with praise and thanksgiving.

This pastor shared this great gratitude with another friend who said:
"Of course! I would also be thankful, if I had recovered from that terrible disease."

Yet, this friend seemed to forget to thank God that she had never been sick at all.
The constancy of God's blessings sometimes seems to kill our gratitude.

We are so like little children.
Take your child a toy every day when you go home,
and it will not be long before that child will cease to appreciate it.
He will even feel himself wronged, if one day, you fail to bring him a toy.

Cultivate the habit of being thankful for life's daily blessings. "In everything give thanks."

If we do this we must put away our pride, self-sufficiency, and conceit.

Have you ever noticed how prone we are to blame others for our misfortunes,
and to praise ourselves for our good fortune?

The Rich Fool harvested an abundant crop, but he congratulated only himself.
He was grateful only for his own prudence and wisdom.

Paul was so different!
When he returned from a successful missionary journey,
he didn't tell what he had done, but what God had done through him.

May the Lord teach us to have that kind of wisdom.
For what do we have that we have not received?

Do you have great ability in your profession?
Are you physically attractive? Even beautiful?
These are wonderful gifts!

Do you have a profession, a place to work, and skill to do your job?
If so, appreciate that.
Remember that you cannot simply thank yourself.

The truth of the matter -- there is not a single blessing that you possess today,
for which you have only yourself to thank.
If you have a tendency to self-conceit, ask yourself -- how much would be left,
if God took from you everything, except what is due to you alone. So, if there is a single thing you value, give thanks for it because it comes to you as a gift.

If we are going to be thankful in everything, we must refuse to allow the blessings of others
to cause us to despise our own.

It is strange that we should be so foolish and so wicked as to do this. Yet, we often do so!

Saul appreciated the praise that was given to him until he heard that David had greater praise.
You appreciated the little daisy that was given you until you saw that a friend of yours had received a rose.
You appreciated your family car until your neighbor purchased a luxury car.

We will never learn to be grateful with attitudes like that!

If we are going to be thankful in everything, we must cultivate the habit of giving expression to our thanks.

This is what Paul did!
He was always telling his Lord and telling his friends how thankful he was.
He was constantly giving expression to his gratitude.
The more he expressed it, the more grateful he became.

What excuse could we have for our silence?
What excuse can we give for our lack of gratitude?

Have you heard this said or have you said it yourself: That is not enough!

God desires and deserves that we "give thanks."
Our families and friends need to hear us say how grateful we are for them.
There are many starved hearts because we fail to give expression to our gratitude.

A thankful Christian is pleasing to God.
Gratitude brings out more gratitude.
A little gratitude strengthens us.
We work much better when we know we are appreciated.

One day you notice the wreath on the front door of a friend's home.

You hurry to the funeral home where his dead body lies,
and you spill a thousand words of praise into ears that do not hear and into a heart that cannot be helped.

"Give them flowers while they live!"

"If I should die tonight,
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting-place,
And deem that death had left it almost fair,
And laying snow-white flowers upon my hair,
Would smooth it down with lingering caress –
Poor hands, so empty and so cold tonight!

If I should die tonight,
My friends would call to mind, with loving thought,
Some kindly deed the icy hand had wrought,
Some gentle word the frozen lips had said –
Errands on which the willing feet had sped;
The memory of my selfishness and pride,
My hasty words, would all be put aside,
And so I should be loved and mourned tonight.

"O friends, I pray tonight
Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow.
The way is lonely; let me feel them now.
Think gently of me; I am travel-worn,
My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.
Forgive! O hearts estranged, forgive, I plead!
When ceaseless bliss is mine I shall not need
The tenderness for which I long tonight."

Express gratitude now -- to others -- and to the Lord!
Gratitude is pleasing to God because God is love, and love always wants to be appreciated.

We do understand that love will live without it, but then it lives in grief and pain and disappointment.
If we love someone, the sharpest, deepest wound that they can inflict, is the wound of ingratitude.

The high-water mark of English tragedy is King Lear.
The climax of this tragedy is the father learning "how sharper than
a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child
."

Will the recording angel be able to write your name and mine in the gilded volume
of those who are thankful?

You and I can bring no greater joy to our Lord than to fulfill this command:
"In everything give thanks."

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com