What in the World Do You Have to be Thankful For?

Read: 1 Thes. 5

Text: 1 Thes. 5:18 (KJV) "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" Psalm 68:19 "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."

Theme: You and I have LOTS to be thankful for!


Introduction:

I have no difficulty being thankful on Thanksgiving day.

  • I love to eat, so thanking Him for the food is easy.
  • I love my family, so I am always thankful for it.
  • I love the holiday, itself, so I am always in a thankful frame of mind come Thursday morning.

Some, though, seem to have no idea of the many things they have to be thankful for!

  • Some are in poor health, and find it difficult to be thankful.
  • Some have little or no wealth...
  • Some celebrate the holiday alone, or far from friends and family...

What in the world do you and I have to be thankful for?

ANSWER - We have LOTS to be thankful for!

Let's notice a few things that the Bible says should bring us to a state of thanksgiving. You can probably add to this list, as can I, but these are things that are specifically mentioned in scripture as being worthy of thanksgiving.


I. Be thankful for your country.

Deut. 8:10 (KVJ) "When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee."

A. Our country is not what it should be, but thank God for it!

QUOTE (Abraham Lincoln - Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863) - "We have been the recipients of the choisest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."

1. Our country needs our influence.

Matthew 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth."

2. Our country needs our message.

Matthew 5:14 "Ye are the light of the world."

3. Our country needs our prayers.

Psalms 122:6 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."

4. Our country needs our citizenship.

5. Our country needs a lot, but let us never forget to thank God for America!

POEM -
"He has blessed our favored country
With a free and bounteous hand;
Peace and plenty in our borders,
Liberty through all our land.
And Although our sins and follies
Oft provoked Him to His face,
Mercy still restrains His judgements,
And prolongs our day of grace."

II. Be thankful for the STUFF you have.

1 Timothy 4:4 "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:"

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

BIBLE STUDY - Matthew 15:36; 26:27; Mark 8:6; 14:23; Acts 27:35

A. Some never seem to have enough, and don't seem thankful for what they do have.

QUOTE - "Some people are never satisfied with their lot in life until it is a lot more."

ILLUS - I read once of a millionaire who, when asked on his deathbed if he had any regrets, stated that his only regret was that he had not lived long enough to make another million.

B. EVERYTHING WE HAVE comes from God!

QUOTE - "A Christian is one who does not have to consult his bank book to see how wealthy he is."

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

QUOTE (Bart Simpson - in a national television broadcast seen by millions of American children) - "We worked for all this stuff, so thanks for nothing, God."

C. We may not always have it, so we should be thankful while we do.

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

Job 1:21 "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

D. One way to show our thanksgiving is to give it away.

POEM -
"Said old gentleman Gay on a Thanksgiving Day:
If you want a good time, then give something away.
So he sent a fat turkey to shoemaker Price,
And the shoemaker said, What a big bird! How nice!
With such a good dinner before me I ought
To give Widow Lee the small chicken I bought.
This fine chicken, oh, see! said the sweet Widow Lee,
And the kindness that sent it - how precious to me!
I'll give wash woman Biddy my big pumpkin pie.
And, oh, sure, Biddy said, 'tis the queen of all pies!
Now it's my turn, I think, and a sweet ginger cake
For the motherless Finnigan children I'll bake.
Cried the Finnigan children, Rose, Denny, and Hugh:
It smells sweet of spice, and we'll carry a slice
To little lame Jake, who has nothing that's nice.
Oh, I thank you and thank you! said little lame Jake;
What a bootiful, bootiful, bootiful cake!
And oh, such a big slice! I'll save all the crumbs,
And give them to each little sparrow that comes.
And the sparrows, they twittered, as if they would say,
Like old gentleman Gay; on a Thanksgiving Day,
If you want a good time, then give something away."

III. Be thankful for Christian friends.

Phil 1:3 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you"

QUOTE (R. G. Lee) - "Together the links make the chain, together the shingles make the roof, together the bricks make the wall. United we stand, divided we fall."

A. Christian friends, unlike friends of the world, PRAY for you.

ILLUS I have a good pastor friend. I went through a particularly low time in my life. Some time later I found out from a third party that this pastor friend had prayed through the night for me during that time of crisis. I've never been able to forget him for that.

ILLUS When I worked at a church in New Jersey, a young man in the church approached me one day and mentioned that I was "number two on his prayer list every day." Again, I've never been able to forget him for that.

B. Christian friends, unlike friends of the world, LOVE you.

(Love is a fruit of the spirit, an attribute of God, something that those who don't know God are incapable of reproducing.)

C. Christian friends, unlike friends of the world, are going to be around for a long, long, long, long, long time!

IV. Be thankful for your Bible.

Psalm 119:62 "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments."

A. I didn't say be thankful for Bibles in Russia (though it is good.)

B. I didn't say be thankful for Bibles in America (though that, too, is good.)

C. What I said was, be thankful for YOUR Bible!

ILLUS - Our Bible decree, which we all recite every Lord's Day. Do you really believe it? "THIS IS MY  BIBLE! I am what it says I am! I have what it says I have! Today I will be taught the Word of God. I WILL NEVER BE THE  SAME!!"

V. Be thankful for your opportunities to serve the King.

1 Timothy 1:12 "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;"

A. Be thankful you have opportunity to give.

B. Be thankful you have opportunity to teach.

C. Be thankful you have opportunity to help.

D. Be thankful you have opportunity to sing.

QUOTE - "The real tragedy in life is not in being limited to one talent, but in the failure to use that one talent."

VI. Be thankful for your inheritance.

2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

ILLUS (Paul Harvey, The Rest of the Story, 1977) - "It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket. Many years before, in October, 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in New Guinea.But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean...

For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun. They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. The largest raft was nine by five. The biggest shark...ten feet long.

But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred. In Captain Eddie's own words, "Cherry," that was the B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, "read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off."

Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking..."Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. I don't know how I knew, I just knew. Everyone else knew too. No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at that gull. The gull meant food...if I could catch it."

And the rest, as they say, is history. Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten. Its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice. You know that Captain Eddie made it.And now you also know...that he never forgot. Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent. His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness.

Colossians 1:12 "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:"

1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

ILLUS - And yet, how many of us are more like "the 9" in Luke 17:11-19 who did not return to give thanks.

POEM -
"As we gather round our firesides
On this new Thanksgiving Day
Time would fail to count the blessings
That have followed all our way.
Grace sufficient, help and healing,
Prayer oft answered at our call;
And the best of all the blessings,
Christ Himself, our All in all."


Conclusion:

What in the world have you got to be thankful for?

ANSWER - You have EVERYTHING to be thankful for?

  • Be thankful for your country.
  • Be thankful for your daily provision.
  • Be thankful for your Christian friends.
  • Be thankful for your Bible.
  • Be thankful for your opportunities to serve the King.
  • Be thankful for your glorious inheritance.
  • ABOVE ALL ELSE - Thank God you are SAVED!

Psalm 68:19 "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."

1 Thes. 5:18 (KJV) "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;"


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1999 William E. Johnson.