A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and £not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
There are several levels of gratitude, each one higher than the one before. Today is a day to remember an old song and pray: “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground!”
I. Expressing Thanks Is Habit.
A. It’s a good habit. We do it automatically.
B. We need to form good habits and keep them.
C. It is no sin to be in the habit of thanking people for the things they do for us.
D. It is no sin to be in the habit of thanking God at every meal.
E. Thanksgiving is habit, but it is more than habit.
II. Expressing Thanks Is Courtesy.
A. We expect it of others and they expect it of us.
B. That is a valid expectation. It is etiquette. It is good manners.
C. God expects us to be thankful. Surely He has a right to expect us to extend to Him the same courtesy we commonly extend to people.
D. To fail to thank God would be rude and thoughtless.
E. Thanksgiving is courtesy, but it is more than courtesy.
III. Expressing Thanks Is Worship.
A. It is a part of pagan worship. We can find many examples in which heathen people thank their gods.
B. It was an integral part of Old Testament worship. The Old Testament is filled with examples of personal thanksgiving and of corporate thanksgiving.
C. The New Testament is also filled with examples. We can find them in the life of Jesus, in the life of the apostle Paul, and in the life of the church.
D. Our own contemporary worship experiences highlight thanksgiving. It is in our songs, in our public prayers, in our sermons and in our meditations.
E. Thanksgiving is worship, but it is more than worship
IV. Expressing Thanks Is Faith.
A. It is believing that past blessings came from God.
B. It is believing that present blessings come from God.
C. It is believing that future blessings will come from God.
D. Thanksgiving is faith, but it is more than faith.
V. Expressing Thanks Is Love.
A. Love means we never take our gifts for granted.
B. Love means we never take the Giver for granted.
C. Love should be expressed in words.
D. Love should be expressed in deeds.
It is better to thank God from habit than not to thank Him at all; better to thank Him from courtesy than not to thank Him at all. It is good to thank God in worship, better to thank Him from faith, best of all to thank Him from love.
We have all seen a parent nudging a child and saying, “What do you say?” and the child parrots, “Thank you.” It’s a good way to teach a child—but we should never have to nudge believers and say, “What do you say to the nice God?” No, thanksgiving should come from hearts so filled with gratitude we cannot keep still.