Text – Psalm 95:1-11
Introduction: Rudyard Kipling, author of “The JungleBook”, at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. [about $10!] A few college students, however didn’t appreciate Kipling’s writings; they facetiously sent him a letter enclosing ten shillings. It read, “Please, send us your best word.” They got back a letter from Kipling, “Thanks.”
- A Thanksgiving Look Upward
- A Thanksgiving Look Outward
- A Thanksgiving Look Inward
1-A Thanksgiving Look Upward
A. An Upward Look Brings Thanks For God ‘s Power.
It’s time we develop a habit of thanking God, not just thanksgiving, but thanks-living!
Harriet was an atheist. One morning she & a Christian lady-friend stepped out into the glories of a beautiful fall morning. As Harriet saw the brilliant sun peaking through the haze, & the frost on the meadow, & the brightly colored leaves making their way lazily to the ground, she was filled with the beauty & said, “I am so thankful. I’m just so grateful for it all.” And her believing friend asked, “Grateful to whom, my dear?”
B. An Upward Look Brings Thanks For God ‘s Plans.
v. 4-5 and Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
C. An Upward Look Brings Thanks For God ‘s Presence. v. 2, 6, 7
We can come, and kneel…we’re in His hand! [no pluck!]
H. A. Ironside was in a crowded restaurant: Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat.
Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? … I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!” [headache prayers]
2-A Thanksgiving Look Outward
A. An Outward Look At Supplies Make Me Thankful. v. 7
I AM REALLY CONTENT…
- I am really content — until I start looking through the Sears catalogue.
- I liked my car — until I saw the new Dodge Magnum.
- I am satisfied with my clothes — until I stroll through the Mall.
- I love our home — until I think of what it would be like to have a mansion or a log cabin on the shore of some remote lake.
- I am satisfied with every area of my life — until I start comparing with someone else’s life.
- I feel like I have enough of everything — until I see someone who has more.
Let’s focus and look at what we have! The secret of a joyful life is not to get what you want but to live with what you’ve got. Most of us spend our lives focused on what we don’t have instead of thanking God for what we do have.
You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone
Our power is shut off, and suddenly we become thankful for electricity. Our garbage is not picked up, and suddenly we become thankful for the garbage collector’s weekly stop. A good friend dies, and suddenly we discover how much he meant to us. Our water becomes too polluted to drink and suddenly we appreciate having good water.
We are much like the 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 and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.”
B. An Outward Look At Scenery Makes Me Thankful. v. 4-6
In regions of Mexico hot springs and cold springs are found side by side, and because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry, boil their clothes in the hot springs, and then rinse them in the cold springs. A tourist watching this procedure commented to his Mexican guide: “They must think Mother nature is generous to freely supply such ample, clean hot and cold water.” The guide replied, “No senor, there is much grumbling because she supplies no soap.”
C. An Outward Look At Sinners Makes Me Thankful. v. 8-11
Description of the lost world, headed for Hell!
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of one hundred people:
- There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, and 8 Africans.
- 50 would suffer from malnutrition and one would be near death.
- 80 would live in substandard housing.
- 70 would be unable to read.
- 6 would possess more than half of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from North America.
We attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death. We are better off than 3 billion people in that regard.
We have money in the bank, or could if we wanted to, and spare change in a dish, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. We are richer than 75% of this world. [richest poor people!]
D. An Outward Look At Salvation Makes Me Thankful. v. 1b, 6-7
Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “Why is that there?” Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post & remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.”
3-A Thanksgiving Look Inward
A. An Inward Look At My Heart v. 7b-8a
In a sense, gratitude is an expression of modesty. In Hebrew, the word for gratitude is the same as the word for confession.
To offer thanks is to confess dependence, to acknowledge that others have the power to benefit you, to admit that your life is better because of their efforts. and when we have a truly transparent heart and look at Christ in our heart, our attitude changes!
I am Thankful for…
1. ….the taxes I pay ….because it means I’m employed.
2. ….the clothes that fit a little too snug ….because it means I have enough to eat.
3. ….my shadow who watches me work ….because it means I am out in the sunshine.
4. ….a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and ….gutters that need fixing ….because it means I have a home.
5. ….the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot….because it means I am capable of walking.
6. ….my huge heating bill….because it means I am warm.
7. ….all the complaining I hear about our government….because it means we have freedom of speech.
8. ….the lady behind me in church who sings off key…..because it means that I can hear.
9. ….the piles of laundry and ironing ….because it means my loved ones are nearby.
10. ….the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours….because it means that I’m alive.
11. ….weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day….because it means I have been productive.
B. An Inward Look At My Health
It was Thanksgiving season in the nursing home. The small resident population was gathered about their humble Thanksgiving table, and the director asked each in turn to express one thing for which they were thankful. Thanks were expressed for a home in which to stay, families, etc. One little old lady in her turn said, ’I thank the Lord for two perfectly good teeth, one in my upper jaw and one in my lower jaw that line up so I can chew my food.’
A 12 year old boy named David was born without an immune system. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in order to correct the deficiency. Up to that point he had spent his entire life in a plastic bubble in order to prevent exposure to common germs, bacteria, and viruses that could kill him. He lived without ever knowing human contact.
When asked what he’d like to do if and when released from his protective bubble, he replied, “I want to walk barefoot on grass, and touch my mother’s hand.”
C. An Inward Look At My Home Psalm 127:3-5
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.
Here is a list of things housewives are most thankful for:
- “For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.
- For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.
- For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.
- For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
- For smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”