November 19 2017
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day — that great American tradition of food and family. Thanksgiving, however, is much more than just food and family. It is, most importantly, – a day when we stop and give praise and thanks to God. God has blessed us all with everything we have, but sometimes we become too confident over where all we have truly comes from. We may even fool ourselves into thinking that we have gained it all by ourselves — and so a day when we give thanks to God is vital. It helps us to remember who we are and whose we are. Gives us all we have and to whom we owe all we have. Indeed, Thanksgiving is much more than just food and family.
Our Gospel Lesson for today reminds us that all we have is from God, and that we need to use all God has blessed us with for God’s glory. This lesson, although not always associated with Thanksgiving, can actually give more meaning to our Thanksgiving celebrations. It is God who has given us all we need and soinstead of spending so much time worrying about what we don’t have and worrying about where what we need will come from, Jesus is saying we need to see where all we need comes from, see that all we need does indeed come from God, and give thanks to God who has blessed us with all we need.
It is indeed good that we have a day to look to God and say: Thanks!
If all we have is from God, and if God gives us all we need, then we need to learn to say “Thanks” to God. How do we do this? How do we complete this essential task and give thanks to God?
We are taking the first step at this very moment. Coming together in worship and praise and thanks to God is a vital act of Thanksgiving for us. Another way is for us to live full, excited lives, using as many of the gifts God has given us as we can and finding as many ways as possible to use what God has blessed you with to be a blessing to others.
Jesus promised us all we need for life. Sometimes, though, we fail to live a full and excited life. Sometimes we fail to use as many of the gifts God blesses us with in as many ways as we possibly can. We fail to find ways to use what God has blessed us with to bless others. We look at our lives and instead of praising God for what we do have — and using what God has given us for God’s glory — we ask why we don’t have more. Too many times we would rather complain about what we don’t have than to give praise to God for what we do have and look for ways to use what we do have to be a blessing for others. We have a tendency to become so preoccupied with what we don’t have that we can’t see what God has blessed us with or how we can use what God has blessed us with for God’s glory.
This is what Jesus is warning us against. Jesus is warning us against worry — that anxious, debilitating worry that can keep us from truly enjoying what God has given us —
and keeps us from giving praise to God. In essence, Jesus is saying: “Take your mind off your needs and look to God’s bounty!” “Take you minds off what you don’t have and see what God has given you.” Learn to look to God and say: Thanks!
God has blessed us all with so much. Of course, not all of us are blessed with the same things or in the same ways, but every one of us has been blessed in some way — all of us have something we can do to live a life of excited praise — all of us have something for which we can look to God and say: Thanks!
What has God blessed you with? Your health? Your family? Your friends? Whatever it is and for everything that it is — look to God and say thanks!
What has God blessed you with that you can use to be a blessing to others?
A willingness to help others? A love for others? The ability to teach? The ability to sing for God’s glory? The ability to lead and make necessary decisions that benefit others?
Whatever it might be — Whatever your particular gift might be –give thanks to God for it and use it!
Learn to say “God — I’m glad You’ve blessed me like You have! I can’t do everything — but I’ll do what I can! I won’t worry about what I can’t do — but I’ll do what I can. I won’t worry about what I don’t have — but I’ll use what I do for Your glory. I’ll be excited about what You have given me — and use what You have given me for Your glory and the benefit of others.”
We all can learn how not to worry about what we don’t have — but give thanks to God for what we do have — what God has blessed us with — and then use what God has blessed us with to be a blessing to others. We all can learn to not be so preoccupied with earthly things — but strive for God’s things. We all can learn to occupy our minds with discovering new ways to use what God has blessed us with to be a blessing from God to others.
It never ceases to amaze me that sometimes it takes someone with a special need to teach us that we can give praise to God for and use all the gifts God gives us for God’s glory and the benefit of others in the world.I read recently about a woman who had many hardships in her life. Her daughter had been killed in an automobile accident — her husband had died — and now she had a crippling disease that confined her to a wheelchair. But instead of being angry with God or giving up — she struggles on with great courage — and has even found ways to focus on the needs of others and how she can help others. She has decided that she will live as full, productive, and joyful life as she can. She gives her philosophy of life this way: “God has given me life that is rich and full. I have drawn closer to God. I love getting up in the morning. Each day is a blank canvas and I get to paint the picture. I don’t ask God to remove the mountains, only to give me strength to climb. In this way I can see what I do have — and give thanks to God.”
What a witness lady is. What a blessing to those around her. We can all learn to look to God and say: “Thanks”.
Learn to worship.
Let your worship be a time of giving thanks to God for all God has blessed you with.
Learn to use what God has blessed you with for God’s glory — and to change the lives of those around you for God’s glory. Most of us are physically able to do much more than the lady in my illustration — and yet we do much less.
Learn to worship. Learn to praise. Learn to use what God has blessed you with. Let God touch you in a new way. Let God show you what you have — and how you can use it to bless others with and for the glory of God.
Let’s let God show us how ww can be a thankful Church — His thankful people.
Let’s let God show us how many ways we all can say: Thanks! Amen