Jump Start # 2474
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This is Thanksgiving Week. It’s a busy time for many families. Some will be traveling and others will be hosting. Great food. Good times. Little ones being with big ones. Games. Football. Movies. And, sprinkled through all of this is the spirit of being Thankful.
This week, we want to focus our Jump Starts upon the wonderful concept of being thankful. We hope that these thoughts will help you in being thankful to others and especially to the Lord. It may be just me, but it sure seems this year that Thanksgiving is being squeezed out by Christmas. I understand from a retailers standpoint that Christmas is the make-it or break-it point for many stores. But let’s not push Thanksgiving completely out of the picture. And, for disciples of Jesus, being thankful doesn’t surround a Thursday in November, but it’s an expression of the heart every day.
In our verse today, the expression, “in everything give thanks,” seems hard to do. Oh, it’s easy to be thankful in the sunshine days. It’s easy when things are going your way. Food in your belly, money in your wallet, things good at home, at work and the church, sure is easy to be thankful. But the “in everything,” means simply that, “in everything.” When the sun isn’t shinning. When things are tough. When storms are gathering on the horizon. When there are tears in your eyes. When others have hurt you. When you are discouraged. When you are not sure what the next step ought to be. Boy, it’s really hard to be thankful then. But, God is there. He always is. God is already into tomorrow. God is still there after the storm passes. God is there after we get back up on our feet. God has been good to us.
There are four aspects of Thankfulness that I want to share with you, one each day.
First, Thankfulness is something we express. You say it. “Thank you.” Two simple words that show that you appreciate what was done, you recognize the giver of the blessing and it has made you glad. Thank you. Sometimes the words just do not seem enough, but there are times when that is all that we can do.
Being thankful means you say it. You send a card expressing it. You, with a smile on your face and an embrace of your arms, let the other person know that you love them and appreciate them. Thank you. Great words. Important words. Necessary words. Without saying them, a person wonders if you liked what was done. Without saying those two words, we tend to take things for granted.
Looking back, I think of all those meals my dear mother made for us when I was young. I know I complained when I didn’t like something, but I don’t remember thanking her very much. It’s easy to assume that a person knows, but you need to say it. It’s easy to think, “Well, that’s their job, they are supposed to do that.” But still, it’s nice just to say those two little words, “Thank you.”
I have found that it’s easier to thank up than it is to thank down. Someone in a higher position, someone wealthier than me, gives me a gift, I’ll be thankful. I’ll say it. But what about being thankful to the person who might be below me. It’s Monday. It’s our trash day. The trucks roll through the neighborhood bright and early every Monday. I don’t think I’ve ever thanked the Lord for the trash men. If they don’t empty the can completely, I might grumble, but thank them, can’t say I ever have. I don’t even know their names. But today, I said a prayer for my trash guys. I prayed that they would be safe as they worked and I thanked the Lord for the work that they do. I don’t think I’d last long doing their job. And, yes, I pay for this service, but still, it would be a mess if I had to deal with all the trash myself.
Then I thought about the kids at church. Sometimes they can be real loud, especially when I’m trying to preach. I can get annoyed some days. But those little voices may someday be leading singing here. I must go out of my way and talk to the little ones. Years from now, when I’m on the other side, one of them might say to a friend, “the very first preacher I remember is a guy named Roger.” Boy, I want to leave a good impression on those little hearts. I’m thankful that moms and dads bring them. Somedays, it looks like the parents are preparing a journey across the planet, with all the backpacks, book bags and stuff that they bring. But they come. They are making a difference. I am thankful for that. Thank You.
To be thankful is to express it. Say it. Say it to your family. Moms and dads, sometimes we are on our kids about how sloppy their rooms are, how late they always are, how absent minded they seem to be, but where would we be without our wonderful children. Say it, Thank You.
To be thankful is to express it. Say it. Think about the meals you eat at home. Think about all the bills that are paid on time every month. Think about how the house is taken care of, both on the inside and the outside. The cars are working, the clothes are clean, the dishes are washed, the floors are swept—someone is doing all of these things. It looks great. We are glad it’s this way. Have we said the two special words, thank you?
To be thankful is to express it. Say it. Now, we come to God. Life. Hope. Salvation. Jesus. The Bible. His kingdom. Friends. Health. Joy. Peace. He is always there for you. He blesses you. He forgives you. He trusts you. He loves you. Have you told Him those two simple words, ‘Thank You.’ Where would you be today, without Jesus? What messes might you be in if it were not for Jesus? Think about all the wonderful people you know because of Jesus. Had it not been for Jesus, you’d never met these people.
Thank you, just doesn’t seem strong enough. Actually, it’s not. It’s the first of four steps that ties all of this together.