Giving God Thanks

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Psalm 136:1-3

Three sons leave home, go out on their own and prosper. Getting back together, they discuss the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother. The first says: “I built a big house for our mother.” The second says: “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver.” The third says: “You remember how Mom enjoys reading the Bible? Now she can’t see very well. So I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the church twelve years to teach him; he’s one of a kind. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot recites it.” Soon thereafter, Mom sends out her letters of thanks. “Milton,” she says, “the house you built is so huge. I live only in one room, but I have to clean the whole house.” “Gerald,” she says, “I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home so I rarely use the Mercedes. And that driver is so rude! He’s a pain!” “My dearest Donald,” she says, “the chicken was delicious!”

There is a story of an older couple watching TV. The man stretches and says, “Honey, I think I’ll go to the kitchen and get some ice cream. Would you like some?” “Believe I would, thanks.” “Would you like some chocolate sauce on it?” “Yes, I would . . . but now be sure and write that down so you won’t forget.” Her husband glares, shakes his head, and marches off to the kitchen. Twenty minutes pass as the husband rustles about. Finally he reappears, carrying a plateful of scrambled eggs. “Why,” exclaims his wife, “I told you to write it down. Here you’ve come back and forgotten my bacon!”

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him-and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12)

Albert Scheitzer suggested that the other nine were so overjoyed they ran to tell their families. They may have intended to come back later to thank the Lord. Schweitzer said, “Remember, a great deal of water is flowing underground which never comes up as a spring.”

The New Yorker, whose cartoons are not only witty but also barbed with philosophical insight, had a dandy one November. It pictured a table fairly groaning with well-prepared food and the father at the head of the table asking, “Shall we say grace?” A study was released by an agricultural school in Iowa. It reported that the production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land was the result of 5 per cent of the effort of the farmer.

Giving thanks is a duty of which gratitude is the grace. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. There is a need within all of us to give thanks. Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

In India they are trying to get rid of the caste system that has been a part of that country for centuries. When you give money to a beggar in India, the beggar will put his palms together and raises his hand in a salute. Not in thanks, where one traditionally would receive one. Instead he salutes your wealth, his poverty, and the givens of the universe.

The great problem is that all of us have the need to say, “Thank you.” One of the signs of evil in our lives is the like of gratitude. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Tim 3:2)

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:17) Prayer without thanksgiving is like a bird without wings – such prayer cannot rise to heaven or be sweet to the Father’s ears. God loves to hear our prayers, but He also loves to hear our praise. We understand it in the good times: And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. (Matthew 14:19) But we give thanks also in the difficult times: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26) “Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.”

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:25)

What we do in honoring God, gives thanks to God. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Rom 14:6) Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

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