Give Thanks


Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:17-19).

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, do not let Black Friday darken your Thanksgiving!

During the sermon last Sunday, I mentioned the prayers of my Granddaddy McWhorter.  My Dad used to recall from his childhood how his Dad’s prayers were chocked full of gratitude.  It made a mark on Dad.  In my Dad’s last decade of life, I noticed how his prayers also just grew more robustly grateful.  It was if his heart were about to explode with thankfulness for all the Lord Christ had done for him.

I was 10 when Granddad passed onto glory, but I do also have a few memories of his prayers.  When I was a kid, we typically gathered at my cousin’s house in Danville, KY for a Thanksgiving feast.  Often, Granddad was called upon to “say the blessing.”  His prayers were a blessing!  Though as a child, I thought the prayers were a bit long, looking back now as a man, I am so appreciative.  He always seemed to have a long list of blessings for which he thanked God.  He was filled with gratitude.  And it bled over into his life attitude.  He was a joyful, happy man who loved Jesus and knew that “every good and perfect gift comes down from above” (James 1:17).

Brothers & Sisters, we do have so many reasons to be grateful to God.  I do not think I need to make a list for you.  I need not insult your intelligence.  You are very capable of making your own list.  And you should.  And you should fill your prayers, not just this week, but every week, with thanksgiving.

Do not lose the flow, the connection between “pray without ceasing” and “give thanks in all circumstances.”  Dare I suggest that if you do the latter (give thanks in all things) you will find yourself more often doing the former (praying without ceasing).  And “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

God always knows what’s best for us.  Thankfulness impacts every facet of our lives.  Find a truly grateful woman and you will also find a humble woman.  Find a thankful man and you find a prayerful man.  Locate a teen with an attitude of gratitude and you will locate a teen with true joy in Christ Jesus.  It’s impossible to be thankful while simultaneously murmuring and whining.  Thanksgiving to God in Christ for His innumerable and unmerited favors literally grounds our identity.  No self-esteem issues are likely to creep into a Christian’s life who spends significant time on her knees praising God for all His benefits!

Find a thankful believer in Jesus, and you will find a Spirit-powered believer in Jesus.  Again, do not disconnect “pray without ceasing” and “give thanks in all things” from “Do not quench the Spirit.”  Perhaps nothing douses the Spirit’s flames in our hearts as quickly as a complaining, ungrateful attitude.  How can we possibly be unthankful, dear Christian, when

“He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things” (Rom 8:32).

O Christian Brothers and Sisters, give thanks!