There have been many sermons preached on Thanksgiving, and with so many messages, it can be hard to find a different way to approach the topic.
I had been rereading the story of the Pilgrims and reviewing their history, and I had this question: Why were they thankful?
They had no Walmart, cars, air conditioning, no Lowe’s to buy tools at, no electricity, shopping malls, paved roads, cellphones, hospitals, nice homes, refrigerators, and no microwaves. Why were they thankful?
The storms they faced were frightful. There was hardly any food. A lot of settlers became sick, and many didn’t recover. Over half of the company died. When Spring rolled around, the wheat seeds they had brought from Europe wouldn’t grow in the stony soil. When their supplies wore out, their sponsors across the sea refused to replenish them. The first time the Pilgrims sent a shipment of goods to England, it was seized by pirates.
What did they have to be thankful for?
Let me tell you a secret to happiness: gratitude.
If you find a happy person, you have found someone who is thankful. Most people tend to think that being unhappy leads to complaining, when really, it’s complaining that leads to a lack of happiness. With everything that has gone on and is still going on in the world today, sometimes we could bring ourselves to wonder what we have to be thankful for.
Psalms 100:3. Psalms 95:6. John 1:3. God made us. He woke us up this morning and spared our lives. We owe Him some thanks for that.
1 Thessalonians 5:18. When we find ourselves overwhelmed with worries and burdened about tomorrow, we should thank God and should praise Him for who He is and for His promise to never leave nor forsake us.
Hebrews 13:15. Hosea 14:2. Now, Hosea was in the old covenant, and back then a person had to bring offerings dripping blood to the Lord. But Hosea was telling people here that there was coming a day when they wouldn’t have to bring a pigeon or ram. In that day, all that would be needed was the calves of their lips, which is to say, the sacrifice of their praise unto Him.
Leviticus 7:11-12. God is the King of Kings and a person should never come into His presence without an offering. In the old covenant, it had to be a blood sacrifice. But we are in the New Covenant, and under the New Covenant our praise, our thanksgiving, is a sacrifice.
At the time that Jesus overturned the tables at the temple, people were buying animals to sacrifice. Jesus didn’t want people using their money to buy a sacrifice that they never got attached to. Jesus wanted the people to realize that the lamb they were sacrificing had a heartbeat and wanted to have a life. Jesus wanted the people to know that it wasn’t their money that bought the sacrifice, it was the blood of that little lamb.
2,000 years ago, the Lamb of God walked up a hill called Calvary and was wounded for our transgressions, and He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we were healed. Hebrews 9:7,12,24. He is our High Priest and the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. There will never again be a need for a natural sacrifice. He deserves our sacrifice.
Colossians 3:15,17. Colossians 4:2. Philippians 4:6. I’ve been really trying to work on this in my prayer life. At times when I come to the Lord with a lost soul to pray for, I like to praise Him when I pray for them and say, “Thank you, Lord, that they are still alive and there’s still hope that they can be saved.”
What do we have to be thankful for?
We should be thankful our sins have been washed away, thankful that we are forgiven. If our heart stops today, we can know that we are on our way to a land where the roses never fade, and no twilight shadows deepen. We will be on our way to a land with no night or darkness. 1 Corinthians 5:17. Romans 8:1. Raise your hands and praise the Lord because your past has been blotted out. You are a new creature in Christ and your past is erased!
Those Pilgrims buried half of their own and suffered for months, but still, they instituted a day of thanks after all of that. How much better are our conditions than theirs? As a whole, let’s kick the devil in the head and give up the complaining attitude. Being unthankful is one step away from being unholy. Complaining is like a garment, and we need to take it off and throw it aside.
We should be thankful that Jesus never changes.
James 1:17. Jesus is the First, the Last, the Beginning, and the End. He changes not, and He’s everywhere. He’s God in Athens, Tennessee, and God in China at the same time. He was, is, and is to come. Revelation 1:8. Isaiah 44:6.
We ought to be thankful that Jesus loves us.
Romans 5:8. Jesus didn’t wait until we got saved or got the Holy Ghost to love us. He loves people even if they have a needle in their arm or a bottle in their hand. We should be thankful that Jesus loves us even in our worst times. Isaiah 53:6.
Let us not wait until Thanksgiving to be thankful. Let’s start today, right now, at this very moment, and give the Lord some gratitude for all He’s done, all He is doing, and all He will do for us. Praise the Lord!!!
— Pastor Anthony Wynn