A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE

 

“IT’S ALL ABOUT GRATITUDE”                          By Pastor YAU

Text: Colossians 3:12-17                                            November 19, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A time to be grateful: For centuries, people in many lands have held harvest festivals to celebrate the bounty of the land and the blessings of life. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln established a national holiday in the United States as “A day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.”

2)   It’s all about gratitude: Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen thinks that most holidays have been corrupted by commercialism except Thanksgiving Day has retained its intended purpose. He said, “This is a very rare day. It is totally and entirely about gratitude.”

 

GRATITUDE IS IMPORTANT:

1)    Gratitude not entitlement: A grateful attitude is an admission that we don’t deserve what we have or what others have done or given us. This is the most basic and fundamental attitude we need to have to feel grateful. People who hold the idea of entitlement feel that they deserve all they have and all the things others have done or given them. Since no one brings anything into this world when he/she was born, the idea of being entitled to anything is obsolete.

2)    Gratitude and acknowledgment: If you write a paper or report and have quoted material from published books, magazines or other publication, it is only right and honest to acknowledge and give credit to the original writer and publisher. Acknowledgment does not diminish the value of your hard work, but give credit to those who helped to make your publication better. Same applies to our attitude of being grateful. On top of your hard work, there are those who help make your life easier, better and more successful and it is right and honest to give them credit for that.

3)    Gratitude and contentment: Contentment is both an emotional and psychological condition we hold on who we are, what we have and how we feel about these things. It has little to do on the quantity of the outside world but the quality of the inner attitude. People who have grateful hearts will have more contentment while those who feel they are entitled to all they have and still feel not enough. The value of contentment is more than just biblical but also emotional. Grateful people are usually happier than the entitled people.

4)    Gratitude and relationship: Many relationships suffer fractures, or even broken, because one side or both do not cultivate enough gratitude to each other for what they have contributed. Those who believe that they are entitled to more than the other side can or willing to give will never feel grateful or happy in that relationship. Remember that no one is entitled to anything from anyone and every little thing we receive from whoever it may be, we need to be grateful and the relationship will certainly last long and sweet.

 

OBJECTS OF GRATITUDE: To whom should we be grateful of?

1)   Begins with God: “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm103:2) These are the words of King David, the most beloved king of ancient Israel. God had raised him to the throne of a king from his humble beginning as a shepherd boy and the forgotten son in a large family. When David was at the heights of his success, he reminded his soul not to forget all the blessings of the Lord. We certainly need to follow this pattern of giving thanks to God when He has given us all we have. Some people will feel proud at their success and forgot that it is God who made it possible for them to have it all.

2)   Then your parents: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) The Fifth Commandment lays out the foundation for our gratitude toward our parents and the blessings God intend to give if we follow. Except in very rare cases, parents are the first group of people we need to be thankful of for all we have and who we are. They did not just bring us into this world, they provide, care, teach, discipline, love and do everything else to grow us from a tiny baby into a child and then youth and into adulthood. Many of our parents also set good and godly examples to grow our faith with God, mode our character and personality and help us set the course of our future the right way. Without them, we won’t be who we are today. So, don’t forget to show them your appreciation.

3)   Then your close friends: “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”  (2 Timothy 4:11) When Paul was facing the last days of his life, he told Timothy about the closest friend Luke who stayed with him through the thin and the thick. He also mentioned Mark who was a partner in his gospel ministry. These are some of the people who had helped in his ministry, stick with him when he needed them the most and Paul did not forget them. It is important that we never forget those who have helped us, taught us, made our life possible as it is today. Do something to show your gratitude to these people.

4)   Finally, there are others: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers, a land with large flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” (Deut. 6:10-11) Moses reminded the Israelites the good things and blessings others had done for them before their arrival in Canaan. If you go to a good school and have good teachers, have a good job in a growing business, worship in a nice, good church, live in a peaceful community and many other good things you enjoy everyday, don’t forget that these are all possible because many people had worked very hard to make it what it is and you need to be grateful to them.

 

GRATITUDE DEMONSTRATED: (Colossians 3:12-17)

1)    Show it to God: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” (3:12) If you are truly grateful to God for what He has done for you, provided you, saved you, sustained you and bestowed on you all kinds of benefits, the best way to demonstrate your gratitude is to keep staying with God at all times and in all things. Be devoted to Him, follow His lead, enjoy His presence, read His words, worship Him in church and at home and stick with Him through the ups and the downs. The best way to show God how grateful we are is to stay with Him at all times. Do not use God only when you need Him. Keep God close to your heart and your life each and everyday and He will really be pleased.

2)    Show it to people: “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have one another.” (3:12-13) Some one had told me it is much easier to be grateful to God than to people and I completely agree. We all know that handling people is the hardest thing in life. But we also need to know that it is people, besides God, who made so much difference in our lives and therefore we need to stay close with them in order to express our gratitude. Be friendly and thankful to those who are close to you. To those who are away from you, make a phone call send an email, a card or even some gifts to those you are truly thankful of. To be thankful in heart is good, but to show your thankfulness in action is much better.

3)    Show it in love and peace: “Over all these virtues put on love that binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (3:14-15) We can show our gratitude to people around us by loving them and keeping peace with them. By focusing on their contribution and things they have done for us, we can show them our gratitude by loving them in heart and be friendly with them in our daily life.

4)    Show it in hymns and songs: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (3:16) This is about showing gratitude to yourself. By singing psalms, hymns and songs in our everyday life, you fill your heart with gratitude and thanksgiving to God, to people and to everything around you. You create a spirit of joy and happiness in your heart when you fill your days with songs. Memorizing some praise songs, some choruses from hymns and sing them while you work, drive or doing house chores. The songs and hymns you sing will reflect the gratitude and joy inside of you. A grateful heart is a joyful heart.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Are you happy about life? Too many people are not happy about life and reasons are countless. Why don’t they learn something from this message and try to be grateful for things they have. A thankful heart brings a happy life.

2)    How will you show? If you are really grateful to God and someone who had done something nice to you, don’t just keep that feeling inside of you. Show the feeling in some actions. I am sure you know what to do. It is the right thing to do and will encourage him/her to do more.

3)    Show it to Jesus: Jesus died on the cross, shed his blood to save you from eternal loss, do you know how to show your gratitude to Him? Ask Him to come into your heart and become the Lord and Savior of your life. If you already a saved person do something for him, give something you have: talents, time and resources so His love may touch another life because of your gratitude.