Sermon delivered November 28, 1998

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

Mcdonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Think and Thank

Who is the greatest saint in the world? Not the one who prays most or fasts most. Not who gives most money, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice, but it is he who is always thankful to God, she who wills everything that God desires, he who receives everything as an illustration of God's goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it." A grateful mind is a great mind!

1 Thess 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. New Living Translation

If you can't think of anything to be thankful for, at least be thankful for what you have escaped! If you can't think of anything to be thankful for, you need to make up your mind that there is something wrong with you. Get on your knees and thank God that you are on your feet!

We have brains, let us put them in gear for God s glory. A minister visited an insane asylum. One of the inmates said, "Good Sir, have you ever thanked God for your reason?" ... an intelligent idea!

The Anglo-Saxon word "THINK" actually means thank. To be thankful meant to be Thinkful!

A few years ago, a couple lost their house in a fire. Fortunately, they were able to snatch all the kids out just before the whole thing collapsed. They stood out on the sidewalk hugging and kissing each other. And they stood there thanking God. Why? Because despite the fact that they had lost their shelter, they had not lost their treasure, which was their kids and their God. Their family was still intact.

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

A little school boy was asked: "Now, what do you have to be thankful for?" He said: "My Glasses!" He explained: "They keep the boys from fighting me and those girls from kissing me!"

Gratitude seems to be rare these days. We have even forbade our school children to thank God for their lunch. Ingratitude is a sign of the last days.

II Timothy 3:1,2 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, unthankful...

Unappreciative! Thankless! In the last days about the only place you can find gratitude is in the dictionary.

A business man with 175 employees decided to treat each of his employees at Thanksgiving time. He sent, by special delivery, 175 choice turkeys, the best that he could find. Several months later only 4 workers had bothered to say thanks. Two sent cards and two did it as they happened to pass him in the hallway.

Psalm 103:2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. God sends far more than turkeys..... do we thank Him for life's extras?

You cannot be expected to remember them all, you probably do not have a photographic mind. BUT, Don't forget them all. Remember some of them.

Christians above all people ought to be thankful. This week I thought of some things to be thankful for that have not happened.

We forgot and left our garage door open all night, but nothing was taken. I am thankful for accidents I was not involved in. Illnesses that did not come. We came back from a short trip and drove up our street and our house was still there. Unburned, un-robbed and un-bothered.

I could have been mugged this year but it did not happen. Especially when the heat goes off and the house is dark, I become even more thankful for electricity. I am thankful for each calm day.

I Timothy 4:4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it. We may receive it gladly, with thankful hearts. - NLT

I believe we do too much complaining and too little appreciating. A man was walking home with his sack lunch. His shoelace came untied and he stopped, put his lunch down on the sidewalk and started to retie his shoe. A large dog came along and ran off with his lunch. The man said, "Thank God, I still have my appetite!"

James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. -NLT

A husky 9 year old boy came thumping into the house after school. He had been walking through the mud and pounded across the kitchen floor leaving muddy footmarks on the floor his mother had just washed. He called out to her, "HI, MOM, Thursday is Thanksgiving day, what have you got to be thankful for?" She looked at him and said, "I'm thankful you are not twins!"

We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. Let me illustrate:

When a criminal becomes a Saint a prison may become a monastery. But when a saint gives up Jesus Christ, even a Church becomes like a prison.

          by Adrian Victor Boyer
   When late November's garnered Fields
      Repose in autumn Haze,
   And Barns and Bins and Silos bulge
      With Fodder, Hay and Maize;

   There comes a warm Euphoria
      Bespeaking Gracious Living
   That fills the Heart with Gratitude
      And genuine Thanksgiving.

   It is a Time to tally up
      Our Blessings large and small
   And so acknowledge Heaven s Hand
     That touches One and all.

Luke 18:11 KJV The Pharisee stood and prayed thus ... "God, I thank thee..." What an example! What great words! Yet he left the temple with divine disapproval! Notice what He said, "I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican."

America is a great nation. Nothing can destroy it.... Unless we become unthinkably weak too weak to lift our hearts to heaven in gratitude to God for His uncounted blessings.

A prominent American who was visiting Argentina was asked by the president of the republic, "Why has South America gotten on so poorly and North America so well; What do you think is the reason?" The visitor replied, "I think the reason is found in the fact that the Spaniards came to South America seeking gold, while the Pilgrim Fathers came to North America seeking God."

Are we personally more thankful for God than we are for gold? Do we honestly appreciate God more than Money?

James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

There is a legend of a man who found the BARN where Satan kept his seeds, ready to be sown in the human heart. More numerous than any were the seeds of discouragement. The man learned that they can be made to grow almost anywhere. He questioned Satan and found that there was one place he could never get them to thrive... in the heart of a grateful person.

We learn silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely we are ungrateful to those instructors.

Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Mother Teresa said: "The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy."

If we pause to think, we'll have cause to thank. A thankful heart enjoys blessings twice-- when they're received and when they're remembered. If Christians praised God more, the world would doubt him less.

Instead, all too many of us count our blessings on our fingers and our miseries on a calculator.

A group of visitors at a summer resort were watching the sunset from the gallery of the hotel. A heavy un-romantic man lingered until the last glow faded and seemed to be absolutely thrilled. Someone asked, "Are you an artist?" "No madam, I'm a plumber, but I was blind for 5 years."

Helen Keller: "It would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days."

I was walking in the cemetery of a primitive church in Cades Cove. A grave stone contained this statement about a young boy that died:

"He was the sunshine of our home"

I wonder if they told the boy that. If they expressed their joy while he lived. If someone needs praise--give it to them while they live. A person cannot read their own tombstone. Let's praise each other and praise God from Whom ALL blessings overflow.

If life is to have meaning, and if God's will is to be done, all of us have to accept who we are and what we are, give it back to God, and thank Him for the way He made us. What I am is God's gift to me; what I do with it is my gift to Him.

We have our holidays mixed up. Thanksgiving - not Christmas - should be the time to give gifts to each other. Christmas should be the time to give gifts to Jesus. It is His birthday.

--What if God didn't take time to bless us today 
       since we didn't take time to thank Him yesterday? 
--What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow
       because we did not follow Him today? 
--What if  we never saw another flower bloom
       because we grumbled when God sent the rain? 
--What if God didn't walk with us today 
       because we failed to recognize it as His day? 
--What if God took away the Bible tomorrow
       because  we would not read it today? 
--What if God stopped loving and caring for us
       because we failed to love and care for others? 
--What if God would not hear us today 
       because we would not listen to Him yesterday? 
--What if God answered our prayers 
       the way we answer His call for service? 
--What if God met our needs 
       the way we meet His needs? 

No wonder David said: Psalm 103:10 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

O Lord, help us to be thankful that you have not dealt with us according to the quantity of our sins; nor rewarded us according to our wickedness. O Thou who has given us so much, now mercifully grant us one more thing.... A grateful heart!

Opening Hymn: 245  More About Jesus
Scripture: Responsive Reading: 712
Closing Hymn: 557  Come Ye Thankful People Come


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