The title of my sermon yesterday was Thankfulness is a Heart Issue. It’s not about our circumstances or our problems, it’s about our hearts. As I prepared to write this morning I looked back over some of the things I’ve written to our church family (and friends) over the past four years. I want to share what I wrote on November 22, 2010 because it’s relevant to Thanksgiving and it goes well with yesterday’s sermon.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I’m not sure why – it may be the crisp fall air and the beauty of the leaves changing colors (for those of us blessed enough to live in the colder climates); or it may be the great holiday feasts with family and friends; or it may be the blessings of faith and freedom that we as a nation enjoy. Whatever it is, I like it.
But I have to admit that there are several things wrong with Thanksgiving. One thing that’s wrong is that I don’t always feel thankful. I know that I’m suppose to, but there are days when I just don’t feel that way. Another thing that’s wrong with Thanksgiving is that it’s not always easy to be thankful. In fact sometimes it’s difficult. And then there’s the whole idea of being thankful for the difficult things in life. Maybe if I was completely sanctified I could – but I’m not and I can’t (at least that’s what I tell myself). If you are like me (and I think most of you are), you’ve struggled with these same issues.
The reality is that Thanksgiving is not about your feelings – it’s about your heart. You don’t have to feel thankful to be thankful. And you can be thankful even when it’s not easy. And yes, you can be thankful even for the difficult things in life without being completely sanctified. It’s all a matter of the heart and a heart that has been changed by the love of Christ is a heart that can be thankful in any situation. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is still true: In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
Another thing that we need to remember is that Thanksgiving is not about your circumstances – it’s about your God. As Christians we’re thankful, not because life is great, but because God is. As long as He is in control we have nothing to fear and we can be thankful to Him no matter what happens in life. O give thinks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1 (also 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 29, 136:2, 3, 26).
Thankfulness is a spiritual quality that every Christian should cultivate. We of all people have reasons to be thankful. Our feelings should not matter. Our circumstances should not make a difference. All that matters is our hearts and our God.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you are called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15.
Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
Stay in the Word