The “Marks” of a thankful Christian!
The “Marks” of a thankful Christian!
Bloomington SDA Church, May 15, 2004
Pr. Fernando Ortiz
v Hymns: 560, 565
v The key text for today’s teaching:1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
v Key phrase: A thankful Christian is always growing, glowing and giving!
Illustration: A number of women were surveyed as to what they were thankful for:
"For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language."
"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 and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents." How about you? As we finish another academic year & church year, what are we thankful for?
Introduction: Give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
"Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Note that it doesn’t say "give thanks FOR all circumstances," but rather, "IN all circumstances." No matter how terrible may be some of the circumstances of life, with God’s help there will always be that for which we can be thankful.
Illustration. Talking about terrible circumstances, one lady wanted to encourage their parents to give thanks in all circumstances. "Dear Mom: Sorry I haven’t written sooner. My arm really has been broken. I broke it, and my left leg, when I jumped from he second floor of my dormitory...when we had the fire. We were lucky. A young service station attendant saw the blaze and called the Fire Department. They were there in minutes. I was in the hospital for a few days. Paul, the service station attendant, came to see me every day. And because it was taking so long to get our dormitory liveable again, I moved in with him. He has been so nice. I must admit that I am pregnant. Paul and I plan to get married just as soon as he can get a divorce. I hope things are fine at home. I’m doing fine, and will write more when I get the chance. Love, Your daughter, Susie P.S. None of the above is true. But I did get a "C" in Sociology and flunked Chemistry. I just wanted you to receive this news in its "Proper Perspective!" Be thankful in all circumstances!
II. THE MARKS OF A THANKFUL CHRISTIAN
Mark #1: A thankful Christian is a GROWING Christian.For example, a baby is ungrateful. You can stay up with a sick baby all night. They don’t say, "Thank You." More than likely, they will just yell a little louder. A child has to be taught to be thankful. It just doesn’t come naturally. Sometimes you have to almost force them to say thank you.
Illustration: Bishop Gerland Kennedy of California tells the true story of a shipwreck off the coast of Evanston, Ill. many years ago. The students of Northwestern University came to the rescue. One student, Edward Spenser, personally saved the lives of 17 persons that day. Years later a reporter was writing a follow up story on the event, and went to interview the now elderly Spenser. When asked what was the one thing that stood out about the incident in his mind; Spenser replied: “I remember that of the seventeen people I saved that day, not one of them ever thanked me.”
A thankful Christian is a Growing Christian. And a growing Christian expresses his/her thankfulness.
There is a story found in Luke 17:11-19. It’s about 10 lepers healed by Jesus. Out of those ten men only one came back to give thanks and Jesus said, "Where are the other nine?" Thanks is expected. He was the only one willing to take time to go back and say "thank you." Because of that Jesus said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."The man was already healed! But Jesus wasn’t just talking about a physical healing, he was talking about mental and spiritual health. He was made whole. He was completely healed.
Thanksgiving has a powerful effect not only in your mental health but also physical and spiritual. When we realize how blessed we are by others and by God and express that - we are growing.
A Thankful Christian is a growing Christian.
Mark #2: A thankful Christian is a GLOWING ChristianIf you are thankful to God then you will be glowing. You will not be constantly critical and pessimistic but eternally Thankful. If we want to be thankful we need to avoid complaining which is the archenemy of thanksgiving.
Illustration: A lady known as an incurable grumbler constantly complained about everything. At last her preacher thought he had found something about which she would be happy, for her farm crop was the finest for miles around. When he met her, he said with a beaming smile, `You must be very happy Mary. Everyone is saying how healthy your potatoes look this year.’ `True they’re pretty good, but what am I going to do when I need bad ones to feed the pigs.’"
The two cannot co-exist in the same heart. And so I challenge you to try to avoid complaining for a whole month. Just try it. When you feel tempted to complain, instead of filing your complaint, file a praise. It will change your life. Philippians 2:14 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God. Thanksgiving is a daily discipline. When you are tempted to complain, give thanks! Because...
A thankful Christian is a Glowing Christian.
Mark #3 A thankful Christian is a GIVING Christian
When we realize how much God has done for us and how much he continues to do, we should be more than happy to give something back to him. This comes through our time and also our financial giving.Our church has been truly blessed by God. But as the church moves, it also finds new financial needs. And just as God has blessed us - so should we bless His work by our giving.
James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the father of lights." When we go to a restaurant, we are more than happy to give a good waitress a 15% tip, but for some reason, many have a problem with giving God 10% of all the good gifts he has given us. We need to ask ourselves if we are truly thankful. Remember God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Cor 9:7).
Conclusion: A thankful Christian is always Growing, Glowing and Giving!
Sometimes we may say, well , I don’t even feel like giving thanks! Remember the old hymn: “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost. Count your many blessing, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: "Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
God’s will for you is to Grow, Glow and Give! Would you like to have the marks of a thankful Christian? If you do, please bow your heads and pray with me.